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THE BRAIN-LIKE COMPUTER

 
 
Reply Mon 24 Nov, 2008 06:24 pm
my first contact with IBM goes back to 1953 when i was trained as a "hollerith machine operator" (funnily enough , it's stated on my german marriage license) . we used huge tabulating machines to prepare the billing and statistical information for the hamburg port authority . "the girls" were the "punched-card machine operators " ; "the boys" were "hollerith machine operators" . shirt and tie and white , knee-length smocks were our prescribed office dress !
now i can sit at my little desktop and "reach the world" without leaving my chair - we've come a long way , baby !
hbg


Quote:
IBM plans 'brain-like' computers

IBM has announced it will lead a US government-funded collaboration to make electronic circuits that mimic brains.

Part of a field called "cognitive computing", the research will bring together neurobiologists, computer and materials scientists and psychologists. .

The resulting technology could be used for large-scale data analysis, decision making or even image recognition.

"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," says Dharmendra Modha, the IBM scientist who is heading the collaboration.

"There are no computers that can even remotely approach the remarkable feats the mind performs," he said.

"The key idea of cognitive computing is to engineer mind-like intelligent machines by reverse engineering the structure, dynamics, function and behaviour of the brain."
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The longer-term goal is to create a system with the level of complexity of a cat's brain.
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Neuroscientists working with simple animals have learned much about the inner workings of neurons and the synapses that connect them, resulting in "wiring diagrams" for simple brains.

Supercomputing, in turn, can simulate brains up to the complexity of small mammals, using the knowledge from the biological research. Modha led a team that last year used the BlueGene supercomputer to simulate a mouse's brain, comprising 55m neurons and some half a trillion synapses.

"But the real challenge is then to manifest what will be learned from future simulations into real electronic devices - nanotechnology," Dr Modha said.
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"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," Dr Modha says.

"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."
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Synaptic connections form, break, and are strengthened or weakened depending on the signals that pass through them. Making a nano-scale material that can fit that description is one of the major goals of the project.

"The brain is much less a neural network than a synaptic network," Modha says.

First thought

The fundamental shift toward putting the problem-solving before the problem makes the potential applications for such devices practically limitless.

Free from the constraints of explicitly programmed function, computers could gather together disparate information, weigh it based on experience, form memory independently and arguably begin to solve problems in a way that has so far been the preserve of what we call "thinking".

"It's an interesting effort, and modelling computers after the human brain is promising," says Christian Keysers, director of the neuroimaging centre at University Medical Centre Groningen. However, he warns that the funding so far is likely to be inadequate for such an large-scale project.

That the effort requires the expertise of such a variety of disciplines means that the project is unprecedented in its scope, and Dr Modha admits that the goals are more than ambitious.

"We are going not just for a homerun, but for a homerun with the bases loaded," he says.


link to complete article :
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7740484.stm
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Reyn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Nov, 2008 09:39 pm
@hamburger,
Quote:
Neuroscientists working with simple animals have learned much about the inner workings of neurons and the synapses that connect them, resulting in "wiring diagrams" for simple brains.


http://scrapetv.com/News/Images/george%20bush%20looking%20stupid.jpg

0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Nov, 2008 10:26 pm
@hamburger,
hamburger wrote:

The longer-term goal is to create a system with the level of complexity of a cat's brain.


link to complete article :
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7740484.stm
[/quote]

Oh, if they only knew what they were getting into.
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Nov, 2008 03:25 pm
@roger,
and the 60th birthday of the ONE TON BABY COMPUTER is being celebrated !

link to video :

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7465115.stm

Quote:
Sixty years ago the "modern computer" was born in a lab in Manchester.

The Small Scale Experimental Machine, or "Baby", was the first to contain memory which could store a program.

The room-sized computer's ability to carry out different tasks - without having to be rebuilt - has led some to describe it as the "first modern PC".

Using just 128 bytes of memory, it successfully ran its first set of instructions - to determine the highest factor of a number - on 21 June 1948.


note the "white smocks" being worn that i mentioned - no coffee cups or soft drinks were allowed around the equipment !

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/44764000/jpg/_44764759_44764367.jpg
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