IBM and SyNAPSE on Dharmendra S Modha’s Cognitive Computing Blog

Dharmendra S Modha is the Principal Investigator in one of the three DARPA SyNAPSE grants, the one awarded to IBM. Modha is the Manager of the Cognitive Computing facility at IBM. Here is the full article from his blog.

IBM Awarded DARPA funding via SyNAPSE Program

IBM has officially announced that our proposal “Cognitive Computing via Synaptronics and Supercomputing (C2S2)” won the first phase of DARPA’s Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics (SyNAPSE) initiative. Please see DARPA’s BAA here.

Some Snippets from the BAA:

“Proposed research should investigate innovative approaches that enable revolutionary advances in neuromorphic electronic devices that are scalable to biological levels. Specifically excluded is research that primarily results in evolutionary improvements to the existing state of practice.”

“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.”

What does the DARPA Award mean?

DARPA has provided mission, money, mandate, meaning, motivation, and metrics that are indispensable to such an ambitious undertaking and to bring a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary group of researchers together.

DARPA has a rich history of initiating and supporting profound technological breakthroughs, including the internet, please see. We are profoundly grateful to DARPA and to the program manager, Dr. Todd Hylton, who created and manages the SyNAPSE program.

Posted by Max Versace

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