Thursday, November 29, 2012

Simulated brain scores top test marks : Nature News & Comment

Simulated brain scores top test marks : Nature News:  It stands apart from other attempts to simulate a brain, such as the ambitious Blue Brain Project (see 'Brain in a box'), because it produces complex behaviours with fewer neurons...

A pure computer simulation, Spaun simulates the physiology of each of its neurons, from spikes of electricity that flow through them to neurotransmitters that cross between them. The computing cells are divided into groups, corresponding to specific parts of the brain that process images, control movements and store short-term memories. These regions are wired together in a realistic way, and even respond to inputs that mimic the action of neurotransmitters.

As Spaun sees a stream of numbers, it extracts visual features so that it can recognize the digits. It can then perform at least eight different tasks, from simple ones like copying an image, to more complex ones similar to those found on IQ tests, such as finding the next number in a series. When finished, it writes out its answer with a physically modelled arm.

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