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IBM Scientists Show Blueprints for Brain-Like Computing

Technology Review (08/08/13) Aviva Hope Rutkin

IBM researchers have created TrueNorth, a computer architecture designed to work more like the human brain. The architecture relies on complex simulations that could lead to a new generation of machines that function more like biological brains. The researchers used TrueNorth to demonstrate a way to use chips with neurosynaptic cores for specific tasks, such as building a more efficient biologically-inspired artificial retina. Unlike conventional computer architectures, TrueNorth stores and processes information in a distributed, parallel way, like the neurons and synapses in a brain. The researchers also developed software that runs on a conventional supercomputer but simulates the functioning of a massive network of neurosynaptic cores. The digital neurons mimic the independent nature of biological neurons, developing different response times and firing patterns in response to input from neighboring neurons. TrueNorth programs are written using special blueprints called corelets, each of which specifies the basic functioning of a network of neurosynaptic cores. TrueNorth comes with a library of 150 pre-designed corelets, each for a specific task. The researchers say the technology could eventually be incorporated into smartphones and automobiles. “We are extending the boundaries of what computers can do efficiently,” says IBM’s Dharmendra S. Modha, the project’s lead researcher.

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Boosting Productivity and Inspiring Innovation Through the Cloud

CORDIS News (08/05/13)

The European Union-funded fostering mobile business through enhanced cloud solutions (MO-BIZZ) project aims to demonstrate the importance of mobile cloud computing to businesses by encouraging small and medium enterprises to deliver business solutions that fully exploit the new technology.  The project’s researchers say MO-BIZZ will help businesses that want to access mobile network assets, such as user billing, short-messaging service, and user location.  Mobile cloud computing combines mobile computing, cloud computing, and wireless networks, which can enhance the capabilities of mobile devices and provide a much richer user experience.  The researchers say MO-BIZZ uses the resources of various clouds and network technologies to provide unrestricted functionality, storage, and mobility.  Over the next three years, MO-BIZZ plans to develop several pilot projects to showcase the potential of mobile cloud computing as a productivity booster for companies.  The project also will build a strategic global approach to the mobile cloud and develop international cooperation in order to create a thriving community of developers.  The researchers note that app developers and technology providers who want to be able to easily deploy their business apps and access mobile network assets stand to benefit the most from this technology.

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