Computer research claws forward

Computer research claws forward

IBM and others simulate feline thinking
source-image
Jan 07, 2010
By dvm360.com staff

Though this may sound like bad sci-fi, it's actually an important milestone in the mercurial world of computer science: researchers have taught a computer to think like a cat. But don't look for a laptop inclined to nap in sunny spots and tear up your furniture—this supercomputer, designed by researchers from IBM, Stanford University, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, has been programmed to accurately simulate the functions of the feline cerebral cortex. This development follows a succession of advancements wherein scientists have simulated a living being's brain. Previous replications have included all or a portion of the cortices of rats and mice, for example.

How super is this supercomputer? It has roughly 100,000 times the memory and processing power of the computer at your clinic's front desk. But this experiment isn't about gaudy system attributes—it's about understanding how the brain works and harnessing that power for application in a wide variety of fields, including medicine. IBM's Dharmendra Modha says that the team's work could result in computers less reliant on the logic of data and more able to deal in abstraction. This "cognitive computing" approach would be useful in analyzing tremendous amounts of information in innovative ways.

Modha notes that computer simulation of the human brain is currently beyond the reach of technology but may be realistic within ten years.

Hot topics on dvm360

Dog of Dallas Ebola patient will not be euthanized, authorities say

Health officials have quarantined and will monitor dog and amid concerns surrounding deadly virus.

Video: How to perform a belt-loop gastropexy

Prevent GDV in your at-risk patients with this simple technique.

Stretch your skills to earn more in veterinary practice

Finding new tasks could be the key to generating more income for your practice—and boosting your pay.

Veterinary community stunned by Sophia Yin's unexpected death

Prominent veterinary behaviorist died of suicide Sept. 28.

Study shows sustained salary slump for veterinary support staff

Since 2009, technicians paid by the hour have experienced a bump in pay, but pay for other team members has stayed stagnant, according to data from the 2014 Firstline Career Path Study. Here’s a look at changes in team pay from 2009 to 2013.