Indian origin researcher making computer that thinks like mammalian brain

December 26th, 2008 - 4:29 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Dec 26 (ANI): An international team of researchers led by Indian scientist is planning to develop a computer that can learn from its own experience.

Dharmendra Modha of IBM plans to develop a computer that operates like a mammalian brain.

Scientists from University of Wisconsin-Madison, Columbia University and IBM will work on the “software” for the thinking computer, while nanotechnology and supercomputing experts from Cornell, Stanford and the University of California-Merced will create the “hardware.”

They aim to build a machine that should be as small as a brain of a small mammal and use as little power as a 100-watt light bulb.

“What our brains are good at is being flexible, learning from experience and adapting to different situations,” Science Daily quoted University of Wisconsin-Madison research psychiatrist Giulio Tononi as saying.

Their idea is to create a computer capable of sorting through multiple streams of changing data, to look for patterns and make logical decisions.

“A lot of the work will be to determine what kinds of neurons are crucial and which ones we can do without,” he said.

It all comes down to an understanding of what is necessary for teaching an artificial brain to reason and learn from experience.

“Value systems or reward systems are important aspects. Learning is crucial because it needs to learn from experience just like we do,” Tononi added.

He said that the ideal artificial brain would need to be plastic, meaning it is capable of changing as it learns from experience. The design will likely convey information using electrical impulses modelled on the spiking neurons found in mammal brains.

“Every neuron in the brain knows that something has changed,” Tononi explains. “It tells the brain, ”I got burned, and if you want to change, this is the time to do it,” he added. (ANI)

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