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Science Hardware Technology

New "Wet Computer" To Mimic Neurons In the Brain 132

A new type of "wet computer" that mimics the actions of neurons in the brain is slated to be built thanks to a €1.8M EU emerging technologies program. The goal of the project is to explore new computing environments rather than to build a computer that surpasses current performance of conventional computers. "The group's approach hinges on two critical ideas. First, individual 'cells' are surrounded by a wall made up of so-called lipids that spontaneously encapsulate the liquid innards of the cell. Recent work has shown that when two such lipid layers encounter each other as the cells come into contact, a protein can form a passage between them, allowing chemical signaling molecules to pass. Second, the cells' interiors will play host to what is known as a Belousov-Zhabotinsky or B-Z chemical reaction. Simply put, reactions of this type can be initiated by changing the concentration of the element bromine by a certain threshold amount."
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New "Wet Computer" To Mimic Neurons In the Brain

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  • by Monkeedude1212 ( 1560403 ) on Monday January 11, 2010 @07:15PM (#30730620) Journal

    But we don't actually have true randomness (though you could argue neither does nature, perhaps quantum mechanics is all a bunch of hoopla and the very outcome of the universe can be determined, but we'll save that for another day).

    Point is, a random number generator when rebooted will generate the same random numbers when rebooted in the same scenario. Tested myself across many lanuages - I have yet to see a true random number generator.

    Our algorithms are VERY deterministic. Lets say there is a purple car, but in my memory I remember it as blue. A slight difference in colour. As computers determine colours in that RBG kind of Fashion, we'll say my memory added a 50 to the red factor, just to put it in understandable terms. Why did this happen? When did this happen? Surely 2 moments after seeing the car I would remember it as blue, but later that week I recall it differently. Was it in the process of putting it into long term memory, or did it degrade over time in long term memory? But why is it that I can correctly remember the colour of my Grandfather's eyes, even though he is long gone?

    Lets say for the sake of arguement you put it in your algorithm to on occaison 'randomly' alter data when its transfered to long term memory, and/or when it sits in long term memory. How often do you execute this? Is that up to 'random' chance? And how much gets altered? Is that random too? Could not my entire memory become distorted? Would that be the same thing as a mental disease - the computer happens to get a bad long series of random?

    It all comes down to properly producing random events - something which computers don't really do, its pseudo-random []

    The way to achieve true randomness, (From the article): One measures some physical phenomenon that is expected to be random and then compensates for possible biases in the measurement process.

    Or in other words, cellular interactions, chemical reactions, even rolling a die would be better than building a computer to "generate" randomness.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 12, 2010 @10:13AM (#30736488)

    Animals have instincts or "drives" that encourage them to survive. These can be implemented or "evolved" in a computer program as well. See experiments on artificial life (e.g.: polyworld).

"Conversion, fastidious Goddess, loves blood better than brick, and feasts most subtly on the human will." -- Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway"