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ibm_logo.jpgComputers are great. If we didn’t have one, the task of writing these
fine article would be difficult. But the trouble with computers is that
they have never really been any good at what we humans are good at.
Artificial intelligence has really worked out so far, but a team of
researchers at IBM are working on a project to mimic the human brain.

The computer company has teamed up with five university to simulate and
emulate the brain’s abilities for sensation, perception, action,
interaction and cognition while also managing to fit in a small
head-sized container and dissipate low amounts of heat.

While computers are great at playing chess and doing mundane yet
intensive tasks, they aren’t much good at recognising people, making
complex decisions or indeed have some semblance of consciousness.

IBM,
together with researchers from the universities of Stanford,
Wisconsin-Madison, Cornell, Columbia and California-Merced will work on
intelligent systems that will integrate information from a variety of
sensors and sources, deal with
ambiguity, respond in a context-dependent way, learn over time and
carry out pattern recognition to solve difficult problems based on
perception, action and cognition in complex, real-world environments.

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{mospagebreak}The $4.9 million project, funded by
the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), will use nanoscale devices for synapses and neurons to make the computer draw as much energy as the human brain.

"Exploratory research is in the fabric of IBM’s DNA," said Josephine
Cheng, IBM Fellow and vice president of IBM’s Almaden Research Center
in San Jose. "We believe that our cognitive computing initiative will
help shape the future of computing in a significant way, bringing to
bear new technologies that we haven’t even begun to imagine. The
initiative underscores IBM’s capabilities in bold, exploratory research
and interest in powerful collaborations to understand the way the world
works."

The
team recently managed to demonstrate a near-time simulation of a small
mammal brain using cognitive computing algorithms with the power of
IBM’s BlueGene
supercomputer. It is hoped that this experiment will pave the way to
come up with mathematical hypotheses of brain function and structure as
they work
toward discovering the brain’s core computational micro and macro
circuits.

It is hoped that the results of the project will
enable large scale roll-outs of intelligent computers that can deal
with problems in much the same way as a human would and hopefully not
lead to a scenario where an Arnold Schwarzenegger-like robot comes back
from the future to assassinate the mother of the human resistance
against their cybernetic masters.

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