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November 17, 2009

IBM closer to create brain-like computer

Scientists map the human brain in effort to build advanced chip technology

By CBR Staff Writer

IBM said that it has made a significant progress toward creating a computer system that simulates and emulates the brain’s abilities for sensation, perception, action, interaction and cognition, while rivaling the brain’s low power and energy consumption and compact size.

Reportedly, the cognitive computing team, led by IBM Research, has made advances in cortical simulation and a new algorithm that synthesises neurological data.

According to IBM, its scientists in collaboration with Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, have performed the first near 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.

In addition, in collaboration with researchers from Stanford University, it has 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.

IBM said that it has built a cortical simulator that incorporates a number of innovations in computation, memory, and communication as well as biological details from neurophysiology and neuroanatomy, to perform the first near cortical simulation of the brain that exceed the scale of the cat cortex.

Cognitive computing will use replicated computational units, neurons and synapses that are implemented in mixed-mode analog-digital, asynchronous, parallel, distributed, slow, reconfigurable, specialised and fault-tolerant biological substrates with implicit memory addressing that only update state when information changes, blurring the boundary between computation and data.

Josephine Cheng, IBM fellow and lab director of IBM Research-Almaden, said: As the digital and physical worlds continue to merge and computing becomes more embedded in the fabric of our daily lives, it’s imperative that we create a more intelligent computing system that can help us make sense the vast amount of information that’s increasingly available to us, much the way our brains can quickly interpret and act on complex tasks.

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