The featured blog is Dharmendra S Modha’s Cognitive Computing Blog. Modha focuses on cognitive computing which can also be described as cognitive neuroscience and is a move towards reconciling the various cognitive neurosciences through computer modelling. In effect, this is about constructing a model of the human brain which can be represented within a computer which in turn has further implications and could be of tremendous benefit in psychiatry. Modha works for IBM within the cognitive computing department and he links to his official page as well as a number of other IBM links on the right hand pane of the blog home page although stating that his posts on the blog are his own ‘and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinion’. His material is published under a creative commons license and the reader can search through his blog using the search box again on the right hand side of the screen. There are also links to archive articles and recent posts.
The blog starts in 2006 with this post about the Almanden Institute followed by this post looking at some of the media responses. Through his blog Modha gives us fascinating insights into cognitive computing developments. For instance he points us to a software company Numenta that is developing technology based on the architecture of the Cerebral Cortex. A preliminary inspection of the Numenta homepage reveals a link to a downloadable software demo which is able to recognise objects within a photograph. There is also an intriguing reference to the Numenta platform being suitable for developers to work on freely under license from the Numenta team. Modha gets to meet many leading neuroscientists and computing scientists which he discusses within the blog and along the way we get a feel for some of the computing advances that are coming through in this area.
Here is some media coverage of the simulation of the mouse brain and here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about the simulations. Here is Modha giving a talk on how to reverse engineer the brain! Along the way I found some of the following posts extremely interesting. There is this discussion of a piece of software Neurovigil that allows remote analysis EEG’s during sleep which might be very useful in the assessment of sleep disorders although the specifics would of course depend on the configuration of the relevant service. The application of electronic noses in medicine is very interesting also! Cognitive animation is yet another intriguing link which looks at how ‘intelligence’ can be incorporated into simulations of movements and there are many variations on how to make avatars (virtual people) more realistic. Perhaps this research could also have clinical applications. In this post, we hear about IBM’s petaflop machine – the fastest computer on the planet being put to work simulating the human visual cortex.
This is a very interesting blog by Modha who keeps a finger on the pulse of compuational neuroscience and some of the exciting developments within IBM’s cognitive computing department.
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