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The Ersatz Brain Project: Brain-Like Computer Design for Cognitive Applications

This project will attempt to design a suitable computer for the efficient execution of software now being developed that will display human-like cognitive abilities. Examples of potential software applications would be natural language understanding, text processing, conceptually-based Internet search, natural human-computer interfaces, cognitively-based data mining, sensor fusion, and image understanding

The Ersatz Brain Project is an attempt to design a suitable computer for the efficient execution of the software now being developed that will display human-like cognitive abilities.

"Our Goal is to build a first-rate, second-rate brain"

Examples of these software applications would be: Natural language understanding, text processing, conceptually based internet search, natural human-computer interfaces, cognitively based data mining, sensor fusion, and image understanding.

Requirements of the proposed software are primary in shaping our hardware design. We suggest a "cortex-power" massively parallel computer is technically feasible, requiring on the order of a million simple CPUs and a terabyte of memory for connections between CPUs.

An important software application of such a machine would be the realization of a large semantic network where individual nodes have complex internal structure. Such a system could potentially build a more flexible and powerful associative structure than current semantic networks and would be ideally suited for key operations in contextual disambiguation and Internet search.

Brown University has been a leader for many years in the mathematical and computer modeling of the brain and cognition. Our project is a natural extension of our international reputation in this and closely related areas.

Success would be a major scientific accomplishment because it would show we understand something important about the way the brain works: we can build one. It would also have major practical applications because it could run the "cognitive" software for the computer applications of the 21st century.

Brown faculty collaborators:

Gabriel Taubin
Gerald Guralnik

Other project collaborators:

None

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Research at Brown: James Anderson: The Ersatz Brain Project: Brain-Like Computer Design for Cognitive Applications
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