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World-record Supercomputer Mimics Human Sight Brain Mechanisms

June 16, 2008
Based on the results of PetaVision’s inaugural trials, Los Alamos researchers believe they can study in real time the entire human visual cortex–arguably a human being’s most important sensory apparatus.

The ability to achieve human levels of cognitive performance on a digital computer could lead to important insights and revolutionary technological applications. Such applications include “smart” cameras that can recognize danger or an autopilot system for automobiles that could take over for incapacitated drivers in complex situations such as navigating dense urban traffic.

clipped from www.sciencedaily.com

Less than a week after Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Roadrunner supercomputer began operating at world-record petaflop-per-second data-processing speeds, Los Alamos researchers are already using the computer to mimic extremely complex neurological processes.
Welcome to the new frontier of research at Los Alamos: science at the petascale.
For the Roadrunner supercomputer, operating at petaflop/s performance means the machine can process a million billion calculations each second.
PetaVision models the human visual system–mimicking more than 1 billion visual neurons and trillions of synapses.
To date, computers have been unable to match human performance on such visual tasks as flawlessly detecting an oncoming automobile on the highway or distinguishing a friend from a stranger in a crowd of people. Roadrunner is now changing the game.
The achievement throws open the door to eventually achieving human-like cognitive performance in electronic computers.
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