The Federal Government of the USA has provided over $28 million to SEAS at Harvard University to allow them to develop machine learning algorithms that are advanced and thereby pushing forward the research in neuroscience.
Intelligence agencies have to deal with a great deal of data and dealing with it all in a sensible timescale is not possible. Even though humans are used to patterns, they cannot cope, and machines are even less capable. The hope is that a system can determine why the brain is so efficient and then build a computer that can reach the same level of interpretation.The virtual cortex of the brain will be studied then carry out a detailed map then reverse engineer the information they get provide improved computer algorithms. The Leader of the project, David Cox believes that the scientific importance of recording many neurons and then mapping out their connections is a massive project, but this is just the beginning. After pushing the science of the brain, they hope to push the science of the computer.
“THIS PROJECT IS NOT ONLY PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES OF BRAIN SCIENCE, IT IS ALSO PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES OF WHAT IS POSSIBLE IN COMPUTER SCIENCE.” — HANSPETER PFISTER
When completed, the systems would be capable of activities as diverse as driving a car or reading MRI images. Rats will be used to recognize items on a computer screen, and their visual neurons will be studied. Later a section of the brain will be scanned, and the hope is that it will be possible to study the cerebral cortex.
This research can lead to improvements in the vision of robots and allow them to navigate new places. Cox accepts this is a massive undertaking.