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Learning from the brain: Computer scientists develop new generation of neuro-computer

Date:
February 19, 2010
Source:
TU Graz
Summary:
Intelligent machines that not only think for themselves but also actively learn are the vision of researchers who have been co-ordinating the European Union research project "Brain-i-Nets" (Novel Brain Inspired Learning Paradigms for Large-Scale Neuronal Networks). The scientists want to design a new generation of neuro-computers based on the principles of calculation and learning mechanisms found in the brain, and at the same time gain new knowledge about the brain's learning mechanisms.
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Nerve cells are joined together by independent connections called synapses.
Credit: Copyright TU Graz/IGI

Intelligent machines that not only think for themselves but also actively learn are the vision of researchers of the Institute for Theoretical Science (IGI) at Graz University of Technology.

They have been co-ordinating the European Union research project "Brain-i-Nets" (Novel Brain Inspired Learning Paradigms for Large-Scale Neuronal Networks) for three years, and are launching a three-day meeting of the participating researchers in Graz. The scientists want to design a new generation of neuro-computers based on the principles of calculation and learning mechanisms found in the brain, and at the same time gain new knowledge about the brain's learning mechanisms.

The human brain consists of a network of several billion nerve cells. These are joined together by independent connections called synapses. Synapses are changing all the time -- something scientists name synaptic plasticity. This highly complex system represents a basis for independent thinking and learning. But even today there are still many open questions for researchers.

"In contrast to today's computers, the brain doesn't carry out a set programme but rather is always adapting functions and reprogramming them anew. Many of these effects have not been explained," comments IGI head Wolfgang Maass together with project co-ordinator Robert Legenstein. In co-operation with neuroscientists and physicists, and with the help of new experimental methods, they want to research the mechanisms of synaptic plasticity in the organism.

Revolutionising the information society

The researchers are hoping to gain new knowledge from this research about the learning mechanisms in the human brain. They want to use this knowledge of learning mechanisms to develop new learning methods for artificial systems which process information. The scientists' long-term goal is to develop adaptive computers together which have the potential to revolutionise today's information society.

The three-year project is financed by the EU funding framework "Future Emerging Technologies" (FET), which supports especially innovative and visionary approaches in information technology. International experts chose only nine out of the 176 applications, among which was "Brain-i-Nets." Partners of the research initiative worth 2.6m euro include University College London, the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg und the University of Zurich.

For more information, visit: http://www.brain-i-nets.eu


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The above post is reprinted from materials provided by TU Graz. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


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TU Graz. "Learning from the brain: Computer scientists develop new generation of neuro-computer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 February 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100202111752.htm>.
TU Graz. (2010, February 19). Learning from the brain: Computer scientists develop new generation of neuro-computer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100202111752.htm
TU Graz. "Learning from the brain: Computer scientists develop new generation of neuro-computer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100202111752.htm (accessed July 31, 2015).

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