Turbotodd

Ruminations on IT, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

If I Only Had A New Brain

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IBM’s gonna help me get a new brain.

I’ve had the old one for a while now (I’m not going to say how long), and it’s probably about time to think about a trade-in.

I’m gonna miss my old brain if I really go through with this.  I have a lot of good memories from the last XX years.

What has happened is, IBM today announced some significant progress towards creating a computer system that can simulate and emulate the brain’s ability for sensation, perception, action, interaction and cognition.

The cognitive computing team, led by IBM Research, has achieved significant advances in large-scale cortical simulation and a new algorithm that synthesizes neurological data — two major milestones that indicate the feasibility of building a cognitive computing chip.

BlueMatter, a new algorithm created in collaboration with Stanford University, exploits the Blue Gene supercomputing architecture in order to noninvasively measure and map the connections between all cortical and sub-cortical locations within the human brain using magnetic resonance diffusion weighted imaging.

Mapping the wiring diagram of the brain is crucial to untangling its vast communication network and understanding how it represents and processes information.

Scientists, at IBM Research – Almaden, in collaboration with colleagues from Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, have performed the first near real-time cortical simulation of the brain that exceeds the scale of a cat cortex and contains 1 billion spiking neurons and 10 trillion individual learning synapses.

Additionally, in collaboration with researchers from Stanford University, IBM scientists have developed an algorithm that exploits the Blue Gene supercomputing architecture in order to noninvasively measure and map the connections between all cortical and sub-cortical locations within the human brain using magnetic resonance diffusion weighted imaging.

Mapping the wiring diagram of the brain is crucial to untangling its vast communication network and understanding how it represents and processes information.

These advancements will provide a unique workbench for exploring the computational dynamics of the brain, and stand to move the team closer to its goal of building a compact, low-power synaptronic chip using nanotechnology and advances in phase change memory and magnetic tunnel junctions.

As the amount of digital data that we create continues to grow massively and the world becomes more instrumented and interconnected, there is a need for new kinds of computing systems – imbued with a new intelligence that can spot hard-to-find patterns in vastly varied kinds of data, both digital and sensory; analyze and integrate information real-time in a context-dependent way; and deal with the ambiguity found in complex, real-world environments.

Businesses will simultaneously need to monitor, prioritize, adapt and make rapid decisions based on ever-growing streams of critical data and information.  A cognitive computer could quickly and accurately put together the disparate pieces of this complex puzzle, while taking into account context and previous experience, to help business decision makers come to a logical response.

For more information about IBM Research, please visit www.ibm.com/research.

Technical insight and more details on the SyNAPSE project and recent milestones can also be found on the Cognitive Computing blog at http://modha.org/.

Written by turbotodd

November 18, 2009 at 2:22 pm

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