« May 2008 | Main | July 2008 »

June 16, 2008

PetaVision Synthetic Cognition Project

"Less than a week after Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Roadrunner supercomputer began operating at world-record petaflop/s data-processing speeds, Los Alamos researchers are already using the computer to mimic extremely complex neurological processes.

"Late last week and early this week while verifying Roadrunner’s performance, Los Alamos and IBM researchers used three different computational codes to test the machine. Among those codes was one dubbed “PetaVision” by its developers and the research team using it.

"PetaVision models the human visual system—mimicking more than 1 billion visual neurons and trillions of synapses.

"On Saturday, Los Alamos researchers used PetaVision to model more than a billion visual neurons surpassing the scale of 1 quadrillion computations a second (a petaflop/s). On Monday scientists used PetaVision to reach a new computing performance record of 1.144 petaflop/s. The achievement throws open the door to eventually achieving human-like cognitive performance in electronic computers.

"Based on the results of PetaVision’s inaugural trials, Los Alamos researchers believe they can study in real time the entire human visual cortex—arguably a human being’s most important sensory apparatus."

For more details, see the press release from LANL.

June 11, 2008

Rajit Manohar

Today, I had an opportunity to host Professor Rajit Manohar from Cornell University. He gave us an amazing talk.

Ultra Low Power Asynchronous VLSI

We present the design of SNAP: an ultra low power asynchronous processor optimized for embedded sensing applications. The circuit style used by SNAP has been optimized for both area and energy to enable the development of a small, long lifetime sensor node. The asynchronous nature of the processor enables efficient transitions from idle to active back to idle state. We present measured performance and energy results for our design. In 0.18um, typical monitoring tasks can be performed with a power budget of 0.6uW.

We will also provide a brief introduction of asynchronous design methodologies, and their relation to concurrent program development.

Ph.D. Computer Science, Caltech (1998); Leader in asynchronous VLSI design; inventor of GHz-speed FPGA technology and ultra low power processors; ~10 issued patents and >50 published papers; MIT Technology Review TR35 awardee; Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Achronix Semiconductor Corp.

June 09, 2008


"The IBM machine, codenamed Roadrunner, has been shown to run at "petaflop speeds", the equivalent of one thousand trillion calculations per second.

The benchmark means the computer is twice as nimble as the current world's fastest machine, also built by IBM."

For details, please see.

June 08, 2008

2008 Kavli Prize in Neuorscience

"The 2008 Kavli Prize in Neuroscience was awarded jointly to Pasko Rakic, of the Yale University School of Medicine, US, Thomas Jessell, of Columbia University, US, and Sten Grillner, of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, who collectively have deciphered the basic mechanisms that govern the development and functioning of the networks of cells in the brain and spinal cord.

"The first Kavli Prize in Neuroscience recognizes a confluence of career achievements that together provide a fundamental understanding of how brain and spinal cord circuits are assembled during development and function in the adult. The members of the Kavli Neuroscience Prize Committee have decided to reward three scientists jointly "for discoveries on the developmental and functional logic of neuronal circuits". 

"Pasko Rakic performed groundbreaking studies of the developing cerebral cortex, including the discovery of how radial glia guide the neuronal migration that establishes cortical layers, and formulated the radial unit hypothesis with its implications for cortical connectivity and evolution.

"Thomas Jessell discovered molecular principles governing the specification and patterning of different neuron types and the development of their synaptic interconnection into sensorimotor circuits.

"Sten Grillner elucidated principles of network organization in the vertebrate locomotor central pattern generator, along with its command systems and sensory and higher order control.

"The discoveries of Rakic, Jessell and Grillner provide a framework for how neurons obtain their identities and ultimate locations, establish appropriate connections with each other, and how the resultant neuronal networks operate. Their work has significantly advanced our understanding of brain development and function and created new opportunities for the treatment of neurological disorders. Each has pioneered an important area of neuroscience research and left a legacy of exceptional scientific achievement, insight, communication, mentoring and leadership."

For details, please see.