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KB3001
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
KB3001   7/14/2011 3:57:26 PM
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The % of human brain modelling depends on the level at which neurons would be modelled.

BicycleBill
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
BicycleBill   7/14/2011 6:23:03 PM
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All this to attempt to replicate the functions of a 3-lb (1.4 kg) brain that dissipates 50 watts--think about that. And it still won't be able to work out most things which the brain does. Very humbling!

KB3001
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
KB3001   7/14/2011 7:42:26 PM
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Indeed, but the aim of this project is to understand how the brain works. When it comes to mimicking the way it works to solve particular problems, I am sure we'll find better ways to do it :-)

alex_m1
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
alex_m1   7/23/2011 10:25:16 PM
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From what i understand , this is about understanding how to build a 1000 trillion link neuron communication system, and less about understanding how the total brain works. But we are improving in understanding how the brain works. As one example of this improvement, is the technique of "Deep Learning", which is based on neuroscience. It uses a single a algorithm that can learn diverse tasks (mainly in perception) just by feeding it a lot of data. the same algorithm basically can learn speech recognition , image recognition , text understanding and other tasks at a really good accuracy , competing with best algorithms designed by experts.

DrFPGA
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
DrFPGA   7/14/2011 7:13:28 PM
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This is probably much less than the brain capability of a gnat, but if you can get 1 billion gnat brains to work together then you might have something...

Peter Clarke
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
Peter Clarke   7/15/2011 4:42:07 PM
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I think I read somewhere that the SpiNNaker team benchmark their target processing as being somewhere about the level of a bumblebee.

abraxalito
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
abraxalito   7/15/2011 12:06:30 AM
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"We don't know how the brain works as an information-processing system, and we do need to find out." Steve Furber could have reduced his ignorance by studying some of the research of Walter Freeman : http://sulcus.berkeley.edu/ Dr Freeman's work does not support the view that the brain processes information.

pixies
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
pixies   7/15/2011 5:26:55 PM
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I did not get the impression that "Dr Freeman's work does not support the view that the brain processes information." from browsing this website. It is merely trying to fathom "how" the brain process information.

abraxalito
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
abraxalito   7/16/2011 4:37:15 AM
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Well there's a huge amount there - a quick browse is unlikely to do his work justice. OTOH his book explains why the 'cognitivist model' (information processing viewpoint of the brain) does not hold water. So if you're interested you could begin with that: http://www.amazon.com/How-Brains-Make-Their-Minds/dp/0231120087/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1310790830&sr=1-1

_hm
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
_hm   7/15/2011 4:17:38 AM
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1% of brain with 1 million ARM cores is good. But how about memory? Does human brain have much more memory? Also, other part is learning, decision making and various moods of human. That will be interesting part of it.

prabhakar_deosthali
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
prabhakar_deosthali   7/15/2011 4:24:19 AM
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This simulation will find out how the brain processes the information. It will be also interesting how the memory works. Because the human memory also seems to have an unlimited capacity and almost instantaneous searching speed ( many times it will beat Google!)

pixies
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
pixies   7/15/2011 5:28:30 PM
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I do not believe the brain has unlimited memory, this notion has been debunked many years ago. The brain forget things to make room for new information.

krisi
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
krisi   7/15/2011 5:50:51 PM
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Agreed @pixies...we forget things so we can remember new ones, this has been documented very well in neuroscience...but there a few people in world where the forgetting mechanism doesn't work, I watched interviews with them on PBS, amazing, they remember almost everything that happened in their lives so brain memory capacity is fairly large(but their life is actually pretty miserable as they suffer from information overload)...Kris

ReneCardenas
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
ReneCardenas   7/21/2011 2:56:12 PM
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I "recall" reading some medical literature that sleep provides the normal defragmenting and refresh process by which the brain reemphasizes desirable memories. Such theoretical assessments aligns with technical processes experienced in computer programming ( memory leaks and stack pointer overruns, etc ), even if the human brain has a large memory capacity, it is the ability to recollect at will, for a successful life, and not one with overburden flow of regretful and sad memories.

Tunrayo
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
Tunrayo   7/15/2011 5:50:59 PM
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I believe the brain depends on "impressions" to build memory (or determine what will be stored). For instance, if you see a face regularly, you'll never forget it because it is "impressed" on your brain from time to time. However, recognition is sometimes slow if you have not had many impressions or a lot of time has passed. It is this reconstruction (slow recognition) by the brain that is really hard to explain ... Was that piece of old information actually there? Or was just enough information to enable reconstruction, all that was stored in the brain?

krisi
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
krisi   7/15/2011 5:53:01 PM
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Could it be that we loose least significant bits of that image with time? Kris

David Brown
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
David Brown   7/19/2011 8:10:50 AM
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Think of human memory as an analogue IIR filter, rather than a digital FIR, and you get roughly the right idea. Human memory is limited, but (for most people) rather large. It is also very efficient in storage - it remembers things in relation to other things, rather than "raw data". And your recall mechanism is mixed in with your imagination - if you can't remember details, your brain can make them up.

t.alex
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
t.alex   7/15/2011 1:58:38 PM
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Just imagine about the power consumption of these 1 million ARM cores..

krisi
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
krisi   7/15/2011 2:56:38 PM
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Good point about power dissipation...does anyone know what is power dissipated by one core in this project? Kris

_hm
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
_hm   7/15/2011 3:00:02 PM
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Text says 18 ARM core on one die with power budget of 1W.

Peter Clarke
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
Peter Clarke   7/15/2011 4:45:07 PM
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18 ARM cores plus 1-Gbit of memory in single package has power consumption of about 1-W, the researchers said.

krisi
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
krisi   7/15/2011 3:07:15 PM
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thank you @hm, that would give roughly 50mW per core...million of those cores would dissipate 50 kW, what am I missing here? Kris

Peter Clarke
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
Peter Clarke   7/15/2011 4:47:44 PM
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The current implementation of the SpiNNaker ARM is in 130-micron CMOS. Professor Furber and his team may be looking to get further power reduction as they scale the number of cores per die?

_hm
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
_hm   7/15/2011 3:22:53 PM
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Also, we have to add power for other parts like memory, serial XCVR and other other losses. Power supply design will be interesting. I reember 30 kW power supply used by CERN. What will be approximate size of system?

krisi
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
krisi   7/15/2011 4:57:41 PM
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Peter: If this hardware system is comparable to Bumble Bee how are we supposed to learn anything about human brain information processing? I would like to think we human beings are a little more complex than bees ;-)...IBM project claimed a cat brain complexity although even that claim was hotly disputed by another IBM group...Kris

Peter Clarke
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
Peter Clarke   7/15/2011 6:07:32 PM
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Well, regardless of bumblebee or gnat, Prof. Furber's team claim that SpiNNaker can model 1% of the human brain. Maybe they hope to model different parts of human brain function, at different times, such as sight or hearing, or memory functions.

Peter Clarke
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
Peter Clarke   7/15/2011 6:18:29 PM
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On behalf of those of you concerned about the power consumption of SpiNNaker, I fired off an email to Professor Furber and below is his reply. "We expect the full million processor machine to consume around 50kW to 100kW when all processors are running flat-out. We don't expect them all to run flat-out very often, and the software is event-driven in a way that means that a processor with a 50% load will use 50% of peak power, so typical power consumption will be lower than above, but we have to provision for the peak. Is it practical? The million processor machine will occupy several cabinets; at least 6 to 8, possibly more if the power density turns out to be an issue. Engineering details for the largest machines are still being worked on, but by adopting blade server or cluster computer-style distributed power supplies and cooling this doesn't seem out of line with established data-centre practice and power-densities. ---Steve"

krisi
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
krisi   7/15/2011 7:02:12 PM
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thank you Peter and Dr Furber, that clarifies the power issues...high power but not impossible to deal with of course...still humble comparison to human brain of 30W or so, and for the bee I guess it would much less so...good luck to the project, hope we learn something interesting when it is build and used although I still doubt whether this really represent 1% of the human brain complexity...Kris

t.alex
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
t.alex   7/16/2011 2:07:50 AM
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Another curiosity is what kind of software design and architecture to be built for all these cores.

agk
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
agk   7/16/2011 8:49:01 AM
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Adding input transducers and output tranducers this will becoms a stationary robbot. Probably a moving robbot with a wirless link can be interfced with this human brain.

goafrit
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
goafrit   7/16/2011 12:35:29 PM
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Neuromophic or bionic chip will remain an academic exercise in this age. It is not getting industry level scale and that is not a place one should put nest eggs because it is not worth it

vasanth_d
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
vasanth_d   7/17/2011 12:58:59 PM
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One million core simulates 1% percent of human brain. This really mean every one of us carry a 100 million core in our head. This is the most complex, most powerful embedded system in all world. I feel we are wasting this enormous power. The machine is truly within us. Why should we simulate to understand the internal working. Just think...

krisi
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
krisi   7/17/2011 3:56:52 PM
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To @vasanth_d, true the human brain is the most complex system in the world, at least for now (that might be not be true in 30 years)...but how do you understand how it operates by just thinking? It seems to me that people have been thinking about the brain for very long time but only very recently with progress in neuroscience and ability to observe (thru fMRI) some decent understanding has started to slowly emerge...building electronic equivalent, however small and simple in comparison to the real thing, might aid in that understanding...Kris

Luis Sanchez
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
Luis Sanchez   7/18/2011 3:07:51 AM
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This is a very important news. The brain is one of the most dificult things to study because we only have a tool similar as the Unit Under Test to study it... and that is our brains. I think an important mention in the article is that the brain neurons communicate with analog signals and to my knowledge all processing power we have in the electronics world is done through digital signals and digital microprocessors. Would a neuron be really like a microprocessor? will it just process bits of data? The links and information found in the comments is actually very interesting also... We'll wait for the outcome of the research which most probably will last several years.

krisi
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
krisi   7/18/2011 3:17:42 AM
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Luis, this is ARM core so it has to be processing of digital bits...but there is some cool research at Stanford where signal processing is in analog domain, their plenary talk is posted at www.cmoset.com (click on 2011 conference)...Kris

pshakii
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
pshakii   7/18/2011 7:13:59 AM
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I am not very familiar with the objectives of this project and its details. But for me from the above discussions, it appears we are trying to model a ASIC of today's complexity with transitor level details to understand some of its functionality(Many of you might strongly say that we might not reach anywhere with this approach immediately!) For human brain, we may try this approach to get somewhere as we may not be not know how to model it in a better way today.

linpaws
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
linpaws   7/19/2011 5:58:14 AM
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1 neuron = 1 ARM processor? I would assume neuron to be a routing/repeating entity than a thinking entity(?).

kjdsfkjdshfkdshfvc
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
kjdsfkjdshfkdshfvc   7/19/2011 8:09:37 AM
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100 billion/1 million*1%=1000 neurons per processor.

David Brown
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
David Brown   7/19/2011 8:12:26 AM
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The big question is, where can we buy these chips? I can think of a lot of applications for a small package with multiple ARM cores and plenty of on-board memory...

Peter Clarke
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
Peter Clarke   7/19/2011 10:17:54 AM
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@David Brown I suspect the answer is that you cannot. Even if you approached Professor Furber with a deal -- say the donation of a shiny new building for the University of Manchester to be called the Brown-Furber School of IT -- you might find that Professor Furber's hands are tied by the licensing terms he agreed with ARM. But there is nothing to stop you taking a license and designing your own many-core ARM device. Professor Furber has shown that 18 cores plus loads of memory is possible in a 130-micron process. What could you achieve at 32/28-nm or 22/20-nm?

David Brown
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
David Brown   7/19/2011 10:29:47 AM
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There is just one tiny little hinder to designing my own ARM device - money! There are lots of SoC devices available from different manufacturers, with all sorts of different cores. But there are not many that have a decent amount of memory in the same package. The idea of a single package containing a decent CPU (single or multi-core) and plenty of memory is very appealing - it would be smaller and easier to use than separate chips.

Peter Clarke
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
Peter Clarke   7/19/2011 12:17:45 PM
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You are telling me that there is a market need; Professor Furber is telling me it is physically possible. Therefore, market economics dictates that someone will go to the venture capital community (or to a corporate investor such as Samsung, Qualcomm or even ARM) and raise capital on the strength of the idea. Indeed it is likely that someone already did and is being stealthy. We will try to find them for you.

David Brown
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
David Brown   7/19/2011 1:13:33 PM
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There used to be the CRIS chips from Axis, but these seem to be discontinued. It just strikes me that when you need a processor like an ARM (or MIPS, PPC, Coldfire, etc.) with more memory than you can get with a microcontroller, then you are going to need the CPU, DRAM of some sort, and Flash of some sort. If someone were to put all these modules inside one package, it would save a lot of effort and board space for many users. If you find out about any suppliers that make such packages - and are happy to sell to small companies - I'm sure it would make an interesting article.

Peter Clarke
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
Peter Clarke   7/20/2011 9:17:57 AM
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I seem to remember Axis as a Swedish communications company with its own processor. I was trying to remember the name only recently - thanks

Moises102
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
Moises102   7/19/2011 1:40:31 PM
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The SpiNNaker team is forgetting one important things about the human brain. The Soul... The core of the brain is the human Soul. Although, the brain has limited memory capacity, the soul has unlimited capacity. Man would never be able to understand the complexities of the human brain and all its functions, unless man humbles himself before the only ONE who truly knows the brain in and out, because HE invented it. GOD.

csmaurojr
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
csmaurojr   7/19/2011 3:01:07 PM
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That seems more like unprovable pseudo-science at this stage of mankind's knowledge. Where's the hard data backing up these claims of the soul's existence and unlimited "capacity"? It certainly may well exist, but until it can be detected, measured and it's properties well understood, it can't be used in the context of being the driving force behind the brain's capabilities. One must use hard, empirical data to back up one's claims - not speculation bordering on fantasy, when proving/disproving a scientific theory.

abraxalito
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
abraxalito   7/20/2011 2:02:37 AM
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Yes, we do need hard data you're totally correct. So where is the hard data for the assertion that the brain is an information processing system. I'm aware of none, but if you know of some, please post a link.

wirenom
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
wirenom   7/19/2011 7:01:30 PM
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Although I am impressed, and overwhelmed, by the sheer size of this marvel, I can't help thinking of another approach. Why expend such massive amounts of digital silicone to duplicate an analog function? I read all the time of nanotechnology and how small op amps and digital gates are being made. Why not manufacture opamp based neurons with about 100 conductive synapses each. Each could be programmed to perform in predefined ways. Then put them together by the thousands, or millions, and start teaching them? wouldn't the end product (knowledge gained) be far more valuable than how a million cpu's did something? I don't see much material in the news or blogs concerning neural chips or research, so I just thought I'd ask experts like you.

abraxalito
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
abraxalito   7/21/2011 12:22:19 AM
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Your suggestion does circumvent the unsupported notion that the brain processes information. However your proposal that the networks be taught is very un-brain-like. Brains are not taught, rather they teach themselves.

krisi
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
krisi   7/19/2011 8:54:11 PM
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This is a well known idea @wirenom...people have tried to use programmable hardware to be trained or evolved on its own by learning...it didn't produce anything useful yet, most research papers are actually doing this in software which misses the point (as software is ultimately executed on a digital computer)...My bet is that in 10 years you will see something interesting in this field...Kris P.s All above development are based on CMOS based analog circuits, nanotechnology is not yet useful for that functionality, it still tries to deliver one transistor, but it will get there eventually

wirenom
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
wirenom   7/19/2011 9:17:34 PM
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I'm sure they will. In the early 80's, a new technology called lcd screens came out. They were very low resolution and only gray scale (or amber scale). I suggested that progress would improve them to color and higher resolutions. The response at the time was "IN YOUR DREAMS". Well, look at it now! Thanks for your response.

elPresidente
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
elPresidente   7/20/2011 3:34:48 AM
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I bet with that much intelligence, its clock will still flash 12:00 and that it watches daytime soaps

ronswallow
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re: A million ARM cores to host brain simulator
ronswallow   7/21/2011 9:07:51 PM
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Please go to internet address http://www.brainresearch.bbnow.org/. Sincerely Dr. Ronald J. Swallow ronswall@ptd.net 610 704 0914



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