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Graphics Software Science

Student Maps Brain to Image Search 72

StonyandCher writes to mention that a University of Ottawa grad student is creating a search engine for visual images that will be powered by a system mapped from the human brain. "Woodbeck said he has already created a prototype of the search engine based on his patent, which apes the way the brain processes visual information and tries to take advantage of currently-available graphics processing capabilities in PCs. 'The brain is very parallel. There's lots of things going on at once,' he said. 'Graphics processors are also very parallel, so it's a case of almost mapping the brain onto graphics processors, getting them to process visual information more effectively.'"
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Student Maps Brain to Image Search

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  • Re:Bad article (Score:3, Informative)

    by caffeinemessiah ( 918089 ) on Wednesday November 28, 2007 @08:36PM (#21512401) Journal

    This is a pretty useless article. Doesn't really tell how he's planning on doing it.

    I absolutely agree with you. Even the Computerworld (admittedly not the pinnacle of scientific reporting) article starts by saying "University of Ottawa student Kris Woodbeck is combining the neural processes we use to understand image data with the features of graphics processors." I don't even know where to begin with that statement. So he's come up with a model of neural image processing (a feat in itself)...and is mapping it to a GPU? This is like saying "we've figured out how to isolate stem cells from a source other than human embryos...and we used plastic petri dishes to do it!."

    Second: 'The brain is very parallel. There's lots of things going on at once," he said. "Graphics processors are also very parallel'. OK, is this a science finding (i.e. a new image processing ALGORITHM based on the brain), or a systems paper (we came up with a parallel GPU version of an algorithm). I really hope he was misquoted, because otherwise it sounds like vaporware or untested hypotheses.

    And then: 'For images, it might be when you took it, with what camera, with what exposure, that's about it. Then you're stuck with a red barn in rolling hills and I might know it was taken in California, but no one else does. How do you surface that metadata so it becomes much more searchable?' OK, now where did this come from again? neural processing? parallel GPU? and now inferring metadata?

    Sorry, but getting a provisional patent is hardly a difficult thing (most universities in the US will file one for free if *YOU* think you might be on to something). Furthermore, all this would be more credible if they published some results and at least a brief description (which is allowable by patent law). Until I see some numbers, this is non-news.

Some people manage by the book, even though they don't know who wrote the book or even what book.