IBM and US Government Seek to Build Computer Brain as Smart as a Cat
November 21, 2008 11:21 AM
comment(s) - last by
The key component of the computer "brain" under development by IBM and the government is the modeling of synapse connections between neurons.
(Source: Science Photo Library)
IBM is trying to develop circuits that mimic the human brain
Think that computer upgrades could one day make the human brain obsolete? You're
. However, to reach that critical milestone key upgrades in computing will be needed to make computers more brain-like in operation.
To those ends IBM is taking the lead on a major government research endeavor in the field of "cognitive computing" which pairs neurobiologists, computer and materials scientists and psychologists in a $4.9M USD DARPA-grant driven project to develop a computer that
behaves like a brain
, down to the neuron level.
Dharmendra Modha, the IBM scientist who is heading the collaboration describes, "The mind has an amazing ability to integrate ambiguous information across the senses, and it can effortlessly create the categories of time, space, object, and interrelationship from the sensory data. There are no computers that can even remotely approach the remarkable feats the mind performs. The key idea of cognitive computing is to engineer mind-like intelligent machines by reverse engineering the structure, dynamics, function and behavior of the brain."
The project will utilize an IBM supercomputer as its hardware, a field where IBM has
long been king of the hill
. Five universities will devote their talents to making this computer behave like a collection of neurons. The goal is replicate behavior in simulations. The long term goal is to create a "brain" on the intelligence level of a cat.
The work will draw heavily from neuroscience, which has mapped out simple animal brains and how they respond to stimuli. Project leader Mr. Modha has some brain-simulating experience of his own -- last year he led a team which used an IBM BlueGene supercomputer to
simulate a mouse brain with 55m neurons
and some half a trillion synapses. He describes, "But the real challenge is then to manifest what will be learned from future simulations into real electronic devices - nanotechnology."
Today electronics can be manufactured at as high a density as animal neurons.
The new effort differs from efforts to establish so-called
. Neural networks, which seek to simulate connections of neurons and can approach learning-like behavior, and artificial intelligence are inherently different from the attempt to create a full brain. Says Mr. Modha, "The issue with neural networks and artificial intelligence is that they seek to engineer limited cognitive functionalities one at a time. They start with an objective and devise an algorithm to achieve it. We are attempting a 180 degree shift in perspective: seeking an algorithm first, problems second. We are investigating core micro- and macro-circuits of the brain that can be used for a wide variety of functionalities."
The result is more of a synaptic network than a neural one. The key component to which the brain owes its flexibility is the synapse. Synapses connect neurons together in the brain and it is these connections that help us think.
Experts worldwide are intrigued by the project, but fear that the US government is underfunding it. Still, says Christian Keysers, director of the neuroimaging center at University Medical Centre Groningen, "It's an interesting effort, and modeling computers after the human brain is promising."
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
Better go ahead and cover my a$*
11/22/2008 9:20:19 AM
I, for one, welcome our new robotic-cat overlords.
"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home
Conference Examines Man and Machine Merging, How Tech Will Make Human Brain Obsolete
July 15, 2008, 3:34 PM
Roadrunner Dominates Top500 Supercomputers List
June 18, 2008, 2:24 PM
Report: Olfactory Bulb Neurons Change On the Fly to Resolve Smells
December 18, 2007, 11:20 AM
Researchers Simulate Mouse Brain on Computer
April 30, 2007, 5:57 PM
Newly Discovered Costa Rican Glass Frog is Kermit's Doppelgänger
April 22, 2015, 11:26 AM
Researchers Hope to Find "Exotic" Lifeforms Inside Crater of Dinosaur Killing Meteor
April 14, 2015, 8:47 PM
Mathematician's Sociological Formulation May Explain the "Hipster Paradox"
April 14, 2015, 1:13 PM
Cool Science Video: This is What a McDonald's Burger Looks Like in Your Stomach
April 7, 2015, 1:43 PM
Fraud Artist Engineered Stunning UK Jailbreak Via Typosquatting, Email
April 4, 2015, 2:57 PM
Food Chemists at Italy's Barilla Claim to Have Perfect Instant Noodles w/out Frying
March 26, 2015, 4:25 PM
Most Popular Articles
Windows 10 Build 10061: A Quick Review
April 27, 2015, 10:57 AM
Ding Dong the Deal is Dead: What's Next After Failed Comcast/TWC Merger
April 28, 2015, 2:06 PM
Report: Apple Pulls the Plug on Apple Watch Store Launch
April 16, 2015, 3:18 PM
Quick Note: Lady Macbath -- One Japanese Woman's Apple Themed Revenge
April 23, 2015, 11:47 AM
After Record-Setting Week, Samsung Predicts 70 Million GS6/GS6 Edge Sales
April 17, 2015, 8:39 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information