2+2=4 … well it depends on how many times you ask!

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011 by Roberto Saracco

There is a fundamental difference between us, humans, and a computer. We understand, and want to understand, what is going on. You can spend your entire life time punching 2+2 on a computer keyboard and any time it will come back to you with “4″. Try that on a person, or a kid, and after the 2nd time you will probably get as answer: Hey didn’t you hear me? Not to mention what you would get if you choose to keep on asking…

Researchers are trying to inject this sense of understanding in computers as well and they call this “cognitive computing”.

The Golden Gate chip announced by IBM

IBM has just announced the availability of a chip that is supposed to do just that.

It mimics the behavior of neurons and synapses in an animal neural system (that is also our brain) and has the goal of being able to learn and behave differently depending on its “experience”.

They are not programmed to execute but to formulate hypotheses and behave accordingly.

The work involves quite a bit of researchers both in the software and in the hardware areas and has been funded by the DARPA that is now funding further research with 21 million $.

The goal is not just to mimic animal neural system in terms of behavior but also in terms of low energy consumption. Our brain performs trillion of operations using a few W of power. A computer needs thousands, millions more times that power.

The creation of an electronic brain is still in the future and still has some science fiction connotation. But for sure we are making progress and, more important, these progresses allows the development of more applications  and transform our ambient into a more responsive one.

The Internet of Thing and with Things will make use of this progress.

Get a better feeling by watching the IBM video:


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