Author Topic: Researchers study the feasibility of brains made from carbon nanotubes  (Read 5591 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Brocke

  • Eleutherophiliac & Drapetomaniac
  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9,790
  • I am not a number, I am a free man!
    • Vimeo page
Synthetic Brains

Researchers study the feasibility of brains made from carbon nanotubes

Researchers are building mathematical models that accurately reflect neuron connections.
Credit and Larger Version

January 27, 2009

Synthetic brains are a long way from reality, but researchers at the University of Southern California, funded by the National Science Foundation, are taking the first steps to build neurons from carbon nanotubes that emulate human brain function.

"At this point we still don't know if building a synthetic brain is feasible," said Alice Parker, professor of electrical engineering. "It may take decades to realize anything close to the human brain but emulating pieces of the brain, such as a synthetic vision system or synthetic cochlea that interface successfully with a real brain may be available quite soon, and synthetic parts of the brain's cortex within decades."

The challenges to creating a synthetic brain are staggering. Unlike computer software that simulates brain function, a synthetic brain will include hardware that emulates brain cells, their amazingly complex connectivity and a concept Parker calls "plasticity," which allows the artificial neurons to learn through experience and adapt to changes in their environment the way real neurons do.

There is also the matter of scale. By 2022, with conventional technology, if the team could construct a synthetic brain that emulated real brain function, even crudely, it would take 100 billion artificial neurons and a very a large room to hold them.

"Obviously the technology will have to be downsized to aid a human being or be feasible as a robot brain," Parker said. Power is another consideration. The power requirements for a synthetic brain are staggering because a human brain never turns off. "In a transistor things are on or off so it's a black-or-white situation, but in the brain there are also many shades of gray and power is continuously being consumed," Parker noted.

But before the researchers can tackle concerns of power and scale, they are building mathematical models that accurately reflect the Byzantine connections of all the neurons and demonstrate how the connections allow neurons to communicate with each other.

Each neuron in the cortex--a part of the brain that contributes significantly to conscious thought and intelligence--is connected to tens of thousands of other neurons. The researchers are also implementing the complex computations carried out by each neuron on all the inputs it receives from other neurons.

"It's a nonlinear phenomenon and almost impossible to model but that's what we're attempting to do," Parker said.

The researchers have shown that portions of a neuron can be modeled electronically using carbon nanotube circuit models and have performed detailed simulations of the circuit models. A single archetypical neuron, including excitatory and inhibitory synapses, has been modeled electronically and simulated. Parker and her co-researcher Chongwu Zhou are in the process of combining these circuit models of neurons to create a functional carbon nanotube circuit model of a small network of neurons. This small network of interconnected neurons will be simulated using the carbon nanotube models. This network demonstrates an interesting neural circuit that detects moving edges in a selected direction.

Parker believes carbon nanotubes are an ideal material to emulate brain function because their three-dimensional structure allows connectivity in all directions on all planes and because a carbon-based prosthesis is less likely to be rejected by the human body than one made from inorganic materials. But their invasive nature could result in them invading surrounding tissue and prompting lesions and cancers.

"It's a possibility and something else that needs to be addressed for the technology to be feasible," Parker said.

As the researchers move ahead with their mathematical modeling and neuron construction, beginning with a single synapse, they ponder "plasticity," neuroscientists' term for the brain's ability to learn and adapt to change. "Our brains can grow new neurons and the synapses between them in an hour--a remarkable biological feature that is difficult to emulate from an engineering perspective," Parker said.

Emulating such plasticity in a synthetic brain will require a major leap in technology, similar to the leap from cathode ray tubes to transistors. "We don't know what the new technology will look like yet, but it will be a technology that can self-assemble and reshape itself. As we work in the lab building neurons or constructing mathematical models, we must consider the requirement of plasticity, even if we don't yet know what it looks like."

Aside from the daunting technological challenges, a synthetic brain or brain components will also raise ethical and environmental issues. The role of emotions in learning are just beginning to be understood, and it appears they are incredibly important to brain function.

"Based on what I know right now, emotions would have to be included for a synthetic brain to be able to learn," Parker said. "It's important to understand their cause and effect."

http://www.nsf.gov/discoveries/disc_summ.jsp?cntn_id=112947&org=NSF


That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.
~Aldous Huxley

He who has a why to live can bear almost any how. - ~Friedrich Nietzsche

strgzr

  • Guest
Re: Researchers study the feasibility of brains made from carbon nanotubes
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2009, 08:55:02 pm »
When I was younger I would read a story like this and think of the good things that could come out of research like this. Now I read this stuff and my first thoughts are how can this technology be used against humanity, because for every 10 scientists that are looking at the betterment of society, at least one is thinking "how can we use this as a weapon". And the weapon guy will probably be better funded and have access to the other 10 guys research. Science has advanced by leaps and bounds in my lifetime, but ethics have made baby steps.

zafada

  • Guest
Re: Researchers study the feasibility of brains made from carbon nanotubes
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2009, 09:14:06 am »
I agree with you strgzr.  I love the fact that I can be proud of my race in terms of technology and it's forthcomings but our race uses too much AGAINST others.  We should be using our supposed intelligence for good and to help others in need...

The only thing they'll have to figure out is how to keep a consciousness inside that artificial brain of theirs. 


Offline NinjaGaijin

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 550
  • MYSPACE/DJNINJAGAIJIN
    • SUBTERFUGE SEMINARS MYSPACE
Re: Researchers study the feasibility of brains made from carbon nanotubes
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2009, 12:09:43 pm »
When I was younger I would read a story like this and think of the good things that could come out of research like this. Now I read this stuff and my first thoughts are how can this technology be used against humanity, because for every 10 scientists that are looking at the betterment of society, at least one is thinking "how can we use this as a weapon". And the weapon guy will probably be better funded and have access to the other 10 guys research. Science has advanced by leaps and bounds in my lifetime, but ethics have made baby steps.

I thought 10 years ago about how we would be LUCKY to get to kill ourselves with nanotech - because we'll do it before then most likely. And it's a really COOL way to kill all of mankind, rather than all these old-fashioned ways.

It's terrifying now.

This just makes me think of chemtrails + morgellons nano fibre diseases..
myspace.com/djninjagaijin / toxemiarecords.com / toxemiarecords.999.org

Offline G_1776

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 58
Re: Researchers study the feasibility of brains made from carbon nanotubes
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2009, 09:06:53 am »
Synthetic Brains Maybe we could make some brains for the politicians!

Researchers study the feasibility of brains made from carbon nanotubes

Researchers are building mathematical models that accurately reflect neuron connections.
Credit and Larger Version

January 27, 2009

Synthetic brains are a long way from reality, but researchers at the University of Southern California, funded by the National Science Foundation, are taking the first steps to build neurons from carbon nanotubes that emulate human brain function.

"At this point we still don't know if building a synthetic brain is feasible," said Alice Parker, professor of electrical engineering. "It may take decades to realize anything close to the human brain but emulating pieces of the brain, such as a synthetic vision system or synthetic cochlea that interface successfully with a real brain may be available quite soon, and synthetic parts of the brain's cortex within decades."

The challenges to creating a synthetic brain are staggering. Unlike computer software that simulates brain function, a synthetic brain will include hardware that emulates brain cells, their amazingly complex connectivity and a concept Parker calls "plasticity," which allows the artificial neurons to learn through experience and adapt to changes in their environment the way real neurons do.

There is also the matter of scale. By 2022, with conventional technology, if the team could construct a synthetic brain that emulated real brain function, even crudely, it would take 100 billion artificial neurons and a very a large room to hold them.

"Obviously the technology will have to be downsized to aid a human being or be feasible as a robot brain," Parker said. Power is another consideration. The power requirements for a synthetic brain are staggering because a human brain never turns off. "In a transistor things are on or off so it's a black-or-white situation, but in the brain there are also many shades of gray and power is continuously being consumed," Parker noted.

But before the researchers can tackle concerns of power and scale, they are building mathematical models that accurately reflect the Byzantine connections of all the neurons and demonstrate how the connections allow neurons to communicate with each other.

Each neuron in the cortex--a part of the brain that contributes significantly to conscious thought and intelligence--is connected to tens of thousands of other neurons. The researchers are also implementing the complex computations carried out by each neuron on all the inputs it receives from other neurons.

"It's a nonlinear phenomenon and almost impossible to model but that's what we're attempting to do," Parker said.

The researchers have shown that portions of a neuron can be modeled electronically using carbon nanotube circuit models and have performed detailed simulations of the circuit models. A single archetypical neuron, including excitatory and inhibitory synapses, has been modeled electronically and simulated. Parker and her co-researcher Chongwu Zhou are in the process of combining these circuit models of neurons to create a functional carbon nanotube circuit model of a small network of neurons. This small network of interconnected neurons will be simulated using the carbon nanotube models. This network demonstrates an interesting neural circuit that detects moving edges in a selected direction.

Parker believes carbon nanotubes are an ideal material to emulate brain function because their three-dimensional structure allows connectivity in all directions on all planes and because a carbon-based prosthesis is less likely to be rejected by the human body than one made from inorganic materials. But their invasive nature could result in them invading surrounding tissue and prompting lesions and cancers.

"It's a possibility and something else that needs to be addressed for the technology to be feasible," Parker said.

As the researchers move ahead with their mathematical modeling and neuron construction, beginning with a single synapse, they ponder "plasticity," neuroscientists' term for the brain's ability to learn and adapt to change. "Our brains can grow new neurons and the synapses between them in an hour--a remarkable biological feature that is difficult to emulate from an engineering perspective," Parker said.

Emulating such plasticity in a synthetic brain will require a major leap in technology, similar to the leap from cathode ray tubes to transistors. "We don't know what the new technology will look like yet, but it will be a technology that can self-assemble and reshape itself. As we work in the lab building neurons or constructing mathematical models, we must consider the requirement of plasticity, even if we don't yet know what it looks like."

Aside from the daunting technological challenges, a synthetic brain or brain components will also raise ethical and environmental issues. The role of emotions in learning are just beginning to be understood, and it appears they are incredibly important to brain function.

"Based on what I know right now, emotions would have to be included for a synthetic brain to be able to learn," Parker said. "It's important to understand their cause and effect."

http://www.nsf.gov/discoveries/disc_summ.jsp?cntn_id=112947&org=NSF

Offline Revolt426

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6,190
Re: Researchers study the feasibility of brains made from carbon nanotubes
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2009, 01:54:40 pm »
There are quite a few politicians that would benefit from brain transplants...

Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank to name a few.....
"Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate It will purge the rottenness out of the system..." - Andrew Mellon, Secretary of Treasury, 1929.

Offline lordssyndicate

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,141
  • Stop The New World Order
    • LinkedIn Profile
Re: Researchers study the feasibility of brains made from carbon nanotubes
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2009, 04:02:13 pm »
I'm a bit more concerned with their current publicly viable synthetic brain technology known as Super Computers.

We now have systems coming into the range of PETA Flops.  1 quadrillion floating point calculations per second!
Here are two systems that since they are owned by the DEO and the DOE requires systems capable of creating realtime climatological models and then configuring NEXRAD towers to monitor and manipulate local weather systems across the globe- are most likely the new brian for the chemtrail project   otherwise known as the Atmospheric Science Program.

Lets really think about this www.asp.bnl.gov is a DEO project .. they admit they are controlling the weather ...... This takes a buttload of compute power and is bordering on more advanced AI because of the tasks this system owned by the DEO must accomplish and variables it must account for in realtime.

I honestly can't think of another DEO related application that would require that kind of compute power. Even the LHC or  some insane fusion reactor project could successfully be managed using but 1/1000th of the compute power the DEO has at it's disposal in just one of these systems...


Anyhow here is an article discussing these systems and it's contenders for the number one spot on the super  computer top 500.

http://www.top500.org/lists/2008/11
Quote
November 2008

The Los Alamos system, nicknamed Roadrunner, was slightly enhanced since June and narrowly fended off a challenge by the Cray XT5 supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory called Jaguar. The system, only the second to break the petaflop/s barrier, posted a top performance of 1.059 petaflop/s in running the Linpack benchmark application. One petaflop/s represents one quadrillion floating point operations per second.

Both of the systems are at national laboratories operated by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).....
The article is continued at the link above it , and also provides details specs for all systems on the list ...

The most powerful systems prior to these 2 new petaflop beasts were owned by the NSA and the DEO and comprised the "Anti terrorist " monitoring spy grid system and the old chemtrail system brain respsectively.....
"Biotechnology it's not so bad. It's just like all technologies it's in the wrong HANDS!"- Sepultura

Offline NinjaGaijin

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 550
  • MYSPACE/DJNINJAGAIJIN
    • SUBTERFUGE SEMINARS MYSPACE
Combine such computing power with ARTIFICIAL LIFE (not intelligence), and devastating results occur.

Artificial life is really a scary concept in a digital/nanotech world.
myspace.com/djninjagaijin / toxemiarecords.com / toxemiarecords.999.org