IBM Closer to Mimicking Human Brain
September 19, 2013
Isn’t this the holy grail for computing? Gigaom tells us that “IBM Researchers Get Closer to Brain-Like Computing.” I suppose it should come as no surprise that this progress has taken place within a DARPA-funded project that IBM Research is working on, called SyNAPSE (Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics). The team is headed by IBM researcher Dharmendra Modha; the article tells us:
“In recent years, Modha and his fellow researchers have simulated a brain larger than a cat cortex and built chips that function like a human brain (pictured), adapting in response to new information in real time.
“Researchers have since developed a massively parallel, multi-threaded software simulator for its brain-like architecture. The simulation covers 2 billion neurosynaptic cores all connected with one another, representing around 100 trillion synapses, which is roughly equivalent to the number inside of a human brain, Modha said. . . .
“In addition to the simulation, researchers have also built a neuron mathematical model, or a set of equations, that can be easily implemented with a few transistors in silicon, Modha said.”
Very interesting. The write-up goes on to describe the corresponding, object-oriented Corelet programming language, which produces “corelets,” defined as:
“. . . abstractions of a network of neurosynaptic cores. The corelet system and language are more appropriate than traditional computing methods for handling lots of simple tasks and processing them at the same time the way a human brain does.”
See the write-up for more details on the software, development environment, and associated curriculum. Where will it all lead? Well, consider the (funding) source; immediate applications are naturally expected to involve such things as drones and unmanned armored vehicles. However, like other military-funded inventions throughout history, there will likely be civilian applications in our future, as well.
For now, we have just one question—is there a transplant in Watson‘s future?
Cynthia Murrell, September 19, 2013