Vast information from the neurosciences may enable bottom-up understanding of human intelligence; that is, derivation of function from mechanism. This article describes such a research program: simulation and analysis of the circuits of the brain has led to derivation of a detailed set of elemental and composed operations emerging from individual and combined circuits. The specific hypothesis is forwarded that these operations constitute the "instruction set" of the brain, that is, the basic mental operations from which all complex behavioral and cognitive abilities are constructed, establishing a unified formalism for description of human faculties ranging from perception and learning to reasoning and language, and representing a novel and potentially fruitful research path for the construction of human- level intelligence.
The US military has revealed $65 of funding for a programme to develop a'brain chip' allowing humans to simply plug into a computer. The goal is'developing an implantable system able to provide precision communication between the brain and the digital world,' DARPA officials said. It has selected its five grant recipients for the Neural Engineering System Design (NESD) program, which it began at the start of this year. Brown University, Columbia University, The Seeing and Hearing Foundation, the John B. Pierce Laboratory, Paradromics Inc and the University of California, Berkeley will all receive multi-million dollar grants. 'These organizations have formed teams to develop the fundamental research and component technologies required to pursue the NESD vision of a high-resolution neural interface and integrate them to create and demonstrate working systems able to support potential future therapies for sensory restoration,' official said.
Aspen, Colorado – They look like a set of fancy headphones. But a set of spikes inside the band act as electrodes to stimulate the brain. According to California startup Halo Neuroscience, the device can help improve the performance of athletes, pilots and surgeons, and potentially help rehabilitation for stroke victims. "The brain is an electrical organ," said Daniel Chao, a physician and co-founder of Halo, in discussing the product at this week's Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference. By stimulating the motor cortex, Chao says the Halo device can "extract latent potential" in the brain to improve performance for people who rely on making quick decisions and movements such as athletes.
Mapping the brain is all the rage. In 2009, the National Institutes of Health announced the Human Connectome Project, an ambitious multimillion-dollar initiative to produce a detailed map of the long-range connections in the human brain. Two years later, the Allen Institute for Brain Science launched the Allen Brain Atlas, a collection of online public resources that integrate information about gene activity with neuroanatomical data. And earlier this year, President Obama announced the Brain Activity Map project, which aims to "reconstruct the full record of neural activity across complete neural circuits. Now an international team of researchers led by Katrin Amunts of the Ju lich Research Center in Germany has created the most detailed map yet of the human brain.
President Obama officially announced a new brain research initiative in a press conference at the White House this morning, something he first hinted at in his State of the Union address in February. In its first year, the project would devote roughly $100 million in public funding and a similar amount from private foundations, to develop new tools for mapping neural circuits. "The human brain is at the present time the most complicated organ in the known universe," Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, told reporters on a conference call this morning. Understanding how circuits of neurons contribute to the complex properties of the brain and how they break down in disease is one of the biggest scientific challenges of our time, Collins said. "We aim through this very ambitious project, some might even call it audacious, to begin to unravel those mysteries."