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April 25, 2008

SyNAPSE: Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics

DARPA's Defense Sciences Office (DSO) has recently issued a Broad Agency Announcement entitled SyNAPSE. The program is led by Dr. Todd Hylton.

Please see here for the BAA.

Here is a brief description:

"Over six decades, modern electronics has evolved through a series of major developments (e.g., transistors, integrated circuits, memories, microprocessors) leading to the programmable electronic machines that are ubiquitous today.  Owing both to limitations in hardware and architecture, these machines are of limited utility in complex, real-world environments, which demand an intelligence that has not yet been captured in an algorithmic-computational paradigm. As compared to biological systems for example, today’s programmable machines are less efficient by a factor of one million to one billion in complex, real-world environments.  The SyNAPSE program seeks to break the programmable machine paradigm and define a new path forward for creating useful, intelligent machines. 

The vision for the anticipated DARPA SyNAPSE program is the enabling of electronic neuromorphic machine technology that is scalable to biological levels.  Programmable machines are limited not only by their computational capacity, but also by an architecture requiring (human-derived) algorithms to both describe and process information from their environment.  In contrast, biological neural systems (e.g., brains) autonomously process information in complex environments by automatically learning relevant and probabilistically stable features and associations.  Since real world systems are always many body problems with infinite combinatorial complexity, neuromorphic electronic machines would be preferable in a host of applications—but useful and practical implementations do not yet exist. 

The key to achieving the vision of the SyNAPSE program will be an unprecedented multidisciplinary approach that can coordinate aggressive technology development activities in the following areas:  1) hardware; 2) architecture; 3) simulation; and 4) environment." 

April 11, 2008

Decade of the Mind III: Emergence of Mind

The Decade of the Mind III event will be held at Great Apes Trust in Iowa.

Once again, the list of speakers is very distinguished, please see bios here:

Dr. Giulio Tononi
Dr. James L. Olds
Dr. Roger K. R. Thompson
Dr. Colin Allen
Dr. Kathy Schick
Dr. Nicholas Toth
Dr. Anne Russon
Dr. Tetsuro Matsuzawa
Dr. Robert Seyfarth
Dr. Merlin Donald

The reader may find the Decade of the Mind letter that we authored in Science interesting.

Cognitive Animation Workshop

Professor Teenie Matlock from UC Merced are organizing a fascinating workshop on Cognitive Animation.