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Friday, November 21, 2008

Thinking Machines

In a previous post I reference the idea of the technical singularity. Based on the news item below, it appears we might be one step closer to Sky-Net, Cylons, the Matrix, Machine Crusade of Dune, etc. etc.

Research Triangle Park, N.C. -- IBM, the computing giant with major operations in North Carolina, said that it will team with five universities to create computing systems capable of simulating and emulating the human brain. The IBM team -- which includes researchers from Stanford University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Cornell University, Columbia University Medical Center and the University of California-Merced -- has been awarded $4.9 million in funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for the first phase of the project, known as Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics (SyNAPSE). The goal is to create computers that can integrate information from a variety of sources, deal with ambiguity, learn over time and carry out pattern recognition to solve difficult problems. "We believe that our cognitive computing initiative will help shape the future of computing in a significant way, bringing to bear new technologies that we haven’t even begun to imagine," said Josephine Cheng, the vice president of IBM's Almaden Research Center in San Jose. IBM said that its long-term goal is to build low-power, compact computers that approach mammalian-scale intelligence.

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