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Spaun: a Large-Scale Functional Brain Model 101

Posted by Soulskill
from the can-it-learn-to-program-my-vcr dept.
New submitter dj_tla writes "A team of Canadian researchers has created a state-of-the-art brain model that can see, remember, think about, and write numbers. The model has just been discussed in a Science article entitled 'A Large-Scale Model of the Functioning Brain.' There have been several popular press articles, and there are videos of the model in action. Nature quotes Eugene Izhikevich, chairman of Brain Corporation, as saying, 'Until now, the race was who could get a human-sized brain simulation running, regardless of what behaviors and functions such simulation exhibits. From now on, the race is more [about] who can get the most biological functions and animal-like behaviors. So far, Spaun is the winner.' (Full disclosure: I am a member of the team that created Spaun.)"
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Spaun: a Large-Scale Functional Brain Model

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  • My God... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 30, 2012 @12:32PM (#42143857)
    The golden age of humanity will start soon. The last gasp of the fossil fuel powered consumer society is now. We will create a new model of society, with longer living people and an understanding of how life works at the cellular, and most importantly, mathematical level. The future is not space, it's synthetic biology.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 30, 2012 @12:34PM (#42143901)

    This simulation takes an hour to simulate one second of neural activity, but the researchers want to speed it up to real time. Why stop there? This brain would be much more interesting if it could simulate an hour of neural activity in one second.

    Just a caution, though: make sure the physical arm it's connected to isn't within reach of any nuclear footballs.

  • by xtal (49134) on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:02PM (#42144389)

    The fact this responds in similar ways is astonishing.. not because of what this model has accomplished, but because it's a great big flashing light pointing to this being the right way to machine intelligence. "HEY OVER HERE!"

    I'll pre order his book, and wait patiently for an open source version of this research / model to appear for people to hack on.

    It's slow now, but 1/3600 speed within the next generation of computers to do in real time - and that's without optimization.

    Interesting times indeed.

  • by mevets (322601) on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:14PM (#42144545)

    (Presumably) intelligently designed to mimic an evolved component of an evolved organism...

  • by dj_tla (1048764) * <trbekolay&shaw,ca> on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:55PM (#42145279) Homepage Journal

    I mean, we would be ecstatic to have people contribute in any way! That could even just mean learning the framework and the software and using it in your own research. We have lots of tutorials, and we'd be happy to help if you want to make your own models. The software itself is pretty good, but it's academic software, and certainly we'd welcome anyone's contributions to the software! We're pretty responsive, either at any of our emails [uwaterloo.ca], or by making a github issue [github.com] if you need any assistance.

    Unfortunately, I don't know if we have a lot of "low hanging fruit", things that we need done but are just too lazy to do so. Though I'm sure we could come up with some of those tasks if desired, as we're certainly lazy.

Maybe Computer Science should be in the College of Theology. -- R. S. Barton

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