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So It Begins: Darpa Sets Out to Make Computers That Can Teach Themselves
Machine learning is how a computer (yellow) carries out a new task (red). The program adds its prior training (green), makes predictions, and completes the task. The result: the machine gets smarter. Illustration: Darpa
Spinnaker, an ambitious project at the University of Manchester (UK), is to build a one-billion-neuron computer from microchips. The idea is to create a supercomputer that works just like the human brain using the same ARM chips that power most smartphones. The team wants to do parallel simulation of large-scale neural networks using the equivalent of 1 per cent of the human brain’s neuron count. They are well on their way: using chips that model 1000 neurons each, their system has created the equivalent of 750,000 neurons. “We’re advancing slowly but steadily,” says project leader Steve Furber.
June 23rd was the centenary of the birth of Alan Turing, father of computer science and artificial intelligence, who committed suicide just shy of 42. (Kings College, University of Cambridge).
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