Patt Morrison for July 27, 2011

Computer-brain: biology inspires binary

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Jon Olav Eikenes/Flickr Creative Commons

An MRI brain scan.

The most powerful computer on the planet would need 8 ½ minutes to simulate less than ten seconds of normal human brain activity. That same computer will consume 1.4 million watts of energy, while the brain will consume about ten. These are the numbers researchers at Stanford were facing when they decided to design a nanoscale computational device that would attempt to emulate synapses of the brain. With the rapid expansion of computational technology and terms like "the singularity" and "quantum computing" becoming more a part of the pop-culture lexicon - we are left to wonder... What does a more “brain-like” computer mean for the future of technology? What implications could this have for artificial intelligence and where could we find ourselves in the future? Come with questions.

Guests:

Phillip Wong, professor and researcher at Stanford University since 2004 and former researcher for IBM. Led a research team during the construction of a nanoscale device for brain inspired computing

Richard Korf, Professor of computer science at the University of California, Los Angeles. From 1983 to 1985, he served as Herbert M. Singer Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University. His research is in the areas of problem-solving, heuristic search, and planning in artificial intelligence


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