Artificial neural networks have been under development for two decades, but researchers are finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel. IBM and HRL Labs, for instance, are working with the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) to realize cognitive computers--cognizers--within another decade.
Already its Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics (SyNAPSE) program has allowed IBM to map out large portions of the brain (pictured) which it simulates on the world's largest supercomputers. After the simulations have been validated, they will be cast into cognizer microchips that accurately emulate the learning abilities of the brain. In Europe, a similar simulate-then-emulate strategy is being undertaken by the Blue Brain project at the ƒcole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), the SpiNNaker project at Manchester University, the University of Southhampton, the University of Cambridge and the University of Sheffield, the BrainScaleS project at Heidelberg University, and the Brain-i-Nets project at the Graz University of Technology.