Boston University scientists unveil roadmap to build intelligent machines with silicon synapses

In a featured cover article to appear in the December issue of the IEEE Spectrum magazine, Massimiliano Versace and Ben Chandler explain how the memristor-based approach will allow the building of brain-scale chips that mimic how neurons process information.

spectrum BOSTON, MA, November 29, 2010: Massimiliano Versace and Ben Chandler, two scientists in the Neuromorphics Lab within the Department of Cognitive and Neural Systems at Boston University, are featured on the cover of the December issue of IEEE Spectrum, a publication of the world's largest professional technology association. The feature article appeared online on November 24, 2010 and describes the ongoing effort at Boston University to build brain-like computational models to run on the next generation of low-power and massively parallel computer chips.

This effort is part of the DARPA SyNAPSE (Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics) project in collaboration with Hewlett-Packard. The SyNAPSE project was launched in late 2008 and aims to "investigate innovative approaches that enable revolutionary advances in neuromorphic electronic devices that are scalable to biological levels." DARPA has awarded funds to three prime contractors (HP, IBM, and HRL), with both HP and HRL working with Boston University researchers in the NSF-funded CELEST Science of Learning Center, where the Neuromorphics Lab is housed.

In the article, Versace and Chandler talk about recent trends in bio-inspired computing, and how these are going to shape the future of neuroscience research and the computer industry in general. In particular, the article explains how technology based on memristors is enabling the
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manufacturingof new nanoscale computing devices. Memristors bring memory and computation close together by mimicking a neuron's synapses, which results in smaller, faster, and more efficient computer chips that can be used to implement brain-like computations in applications ranging from robotics to image processing to intelligent data analysis.

More information on this project is available on the Neurdon blog, which is a central hub in computational neuroscience and neuromorphic technology.

Major media coverage:

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Other websites have also picked up on the story, and a list is below (the text of some of these links is redundant):

- TechNewsDaily
- Kurzweil’s blog
- BU Today
- Nanotechnology
- Softpedia
- CodingFuture
- Robotic News
- Robotic Lab
- Alfin
- Memristors.org
- Boston Innovation
- Wicked Local
- TheEEStory.com
- NextBigFuture
- Brainicane
- Before it’s news
- Nanotech Clearinghouse
- XKCD
- Anguishedrepose
- OS News
- BJproductions
- The Global Transition
- Anandtech forum
- Forumlogr
- Machines like us
- Multiverseaccordingtoben
- HP blog
- Newsdrome
- Adafruit
- Innovation watch
- The Ledger
- OnePageNews
- Foresight Institute
- The Institure of Neuroinformatics blog
- Frontsidebus
- Hot Tech News
- Secuobs
- Toms Guide
- Tuaw
- Yahoo
- Skyscraper City
- Transhumanismus
- Ubervu
- Inside HPC
- Blogotariat
- RickNick
- AskJot
- Gmax
- Upcoming
- Techblog
- Taranfx
- Feed My Science
- India times
- TopicFire


Massimiliano Versace (PhD, Cognitive and Neural Systems, Boston University, 2007) is a Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Cognitive and Neural Systems at Boston University, Director of the Neuromorphics Lab, and co-Director of Technology Outreach in the NSF Science of Learning Center CELEST: Center of Excellence for Learning in Education, Science, and Technology. He is a co-PI on the Boston University subcontract with Hewlett Packard in the DARPA Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics (SyNAPSE) project.

 

Ben Chandler is a PhD candidate in the Boston University Department of Cognitive and Neural Systems and an ACES associate in the BU Center for Computational Science. Before coming to Boston, he earned his BS in Cognitive Science at Carnegie Mellon University and spent three years in the Advanced Networking Group at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center. His research interests touch large-scale simulation, homeostatic plasticity, evolutionary programming, and all things related to technology.

The IEEE Spectrum magazineis the flagship publication of the IEEE, the world's largest professional technology association. It is a monthly magazine for technology innovators, business leaders, and the intellectually curious. Spectrum explores future technology trends and the impact of those trends on society and business. IEEE Spectrum is read by over 385,000 technology professionals and senior executives worldwide in the high technology sectors of industry, government, and academia. Subscribers include engineering managers and corporate and financial executives. Deans and provosts at every major engineering university and college throughout the world are also Spectrum readers.