Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Press > New center to better understand human intelligence, build smarter machines: NSF awards $25 million to MIT-based center to advance brain understanding

The hope is that through building intelligent machines, we can better understand ourselves.

Credit: Christine Daniloff/MIT
The hope is that through building intelligent machines, we can better understand ourselves.

Credit: Christine Daniloff/MIT

Abstract:
Siri and Watson may seem brainy in certain situations, but to build truly smart, world-changing machines, researchers must understand how human intelligence emerges from brain activity.

New center to better understand human intelligence, build smarter machines: NSF awards $25 million to MIT-based center to advance brain understanding

Arlington, VA | Posted on September 9th, 2013

Such an awesome challenge requires that scientists and engineers across key fields work together to learn how the brain performs complex computations, from social interactions to visual recognition. The hope is that through building intelligent machines, we can better understand ourselves.

To help encourage progress in this field, the National Science Foundation (NSF) recently awarded $25 million to establish a Center for Brains, Minds and Machines at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The center is one of three new research centers funded this year through NSF's Science and Technology Centers: Integrative Partnerships program.

"NSF is pleased to support a cohort of exceptionally strong center proposals in Fiscal Year 2013 that scientifically 'top the charts' in terms of their timeliness and their potential contribution to U.S. competitiveness," said Wanda Ward, NSF's office head of the Office of International and Integrative Activities, which oversees the program. "These new leading-edge centers will produce the next generation of diverse, globally engaged talent and have the potential to attract more Nobel Prize-caliber researchers."

The MIT center will also play a key role in the new BRAIN Initiative, an effort by federal agencies and private partners to support and coordinate research to understand how the brain works.

A computer that learns like you

Recent advances in areas ranging from artificial intelligence to neurotechnology present new opportunities for an integrated effort to produce major breakthroughs in fundamental knowledge. For example, some digital computers can now rival the raw processing power and memory of the human brain. New tools allow researchers to switch individual brain cells "on" and "off" to affect behavior. Yet, a three-year-old child can identify a door knob better than an intelligent machine can. Significant obstacles clearly remain before the gap between brain and machine can be bridged.

"Understanding the brain is one of the grand scientific challenges at the intersection of the physical, life, behavioral and engineering sciences," said John Wingfield, assistant director of NSF's Biological Sciences Directorate. "Despite major research and technological advances achieved in recent decades, a comprehensive understanding of the brain--how thoughts, memories and intelligent behavior emerge from dynamic brain activity--remains unexplained."

Human intelligence has many aspects--including an ability to understand people and surroundings by using vision and language--so the researchers will take a multi-faceted approach. Recent work in artificial intelligence has focused in part on improvements in modeling human vision and social interaction, producing self-driving cars and the verbally quick Watson, for example.

Intelligence is interdisciplinary

Work at the new MIT center will cross disciplines to build more human-like machines, with the goal of establishing a theory of intelligence.

The five-year award will enable the center's researchers to benefit from the expertise of neuroscientists, engineers, mathematicians and computational scientists through a global network of academic, industrial and technological partnerships. Tomaso Poggio, the Eugene McDermott Professor at the Department of Brain Sciences at MIT, is the principal investigator for the project.

The award will also help train the next generation of scientists and engineers. A summer school program, technical workshops and online courses are planned to create a new community of interdisciplinary researchers fluent in the study of intelligence.

"Investments such as this in collaborative, fundamental science projects will ultimately lead to discoveries that revolutionize our understanding of the brain, which is the goal of the new BRAIN Initiative," Wingfield said. "Progress in this area holds enormous potential to improve our educational, economic, health and social institutions."

The center's other principal investigators include Haym Hirsh, Dean of the Faculty of Computing and Information Science and Professor of Computer Science and Information Science at Cornell University; Lakshminarayanan Mahadevan, Lola England de Valpine Professor of Applied Mathematics at Harvard University and Matthew Wilson, Sherman Fairchild Professor of Neuroscience and Picower Scholar at MIT.

The Center for Brains, Minds and Machines will partner with the following institutions and organizations.

Academic institutions

- California Institute of Technology
- Cornell University
- Harvard University
- MIT
- Rockefeller University
- Stanford University
- University of California, Los Angeles

Broadening Participation institutions

- Howard University
- Hunter College
- Universidad Central del Caribe, Puerto Rico
- University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras
- Wellesley College

International partnerships

- City University, Hong Kong
- Hebrew University of Jerusalem
- Italian Institute of Technology
- Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen
- National Center for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, India
- University of Genoa
- Weizmann Institute of Science

####

About National Science Foundation (NSF)
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2012, its budget was $7.0 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 50,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $593 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Sarah Bates
NSF
(703) 292-7738


Lisa-Joy Zgorski
NSF
(703) 292-8311


Kimberly Allen
MIT News Office
(617) 253-2702

Copyright © National Science Foundation (NSF)

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

The Center for Brains, Minds and Machines:

Prying Open the Black Box of the Brain:

Artificial-intelligence research revives its old ambitions:

Understanding the brain: the National Science Foundation and the BRAIN Initiative fact sheet:

Award Abstract #1231216: A Center for Brains, Minds and Machines: the Science and the Technology of Intelligence:

Related News Press

News and information

Haydale Secures Exclusive Development and Supply Agreement with Tantec A/S: New reactors to be built and commissioned by Tantec A/S represent another step forward towards the commercialisation of graphene October 24th, 2014

QuantumWise guides the semiconductor industry towards the atomic scale October 24th, 2014

MEMS & Sensors Technology Showcase: Finalists Announced for MEMS Executive Congress US 2014 October 23rd, 2014

Nanoparticle technology triples the production of biogas October 23rd, 2014

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Novel Rocket Design Flight Tested: New Rocket Propellant and Motor Design Offers High Performance and Safety October 23rd, 2014

Strengthening thin-film bonds with ultrafast data collection October 23rd, 2014

Brookhaven Lab Launches Computational Science Initiative:Leveraging computational science expertise and investments across the Laboratory to tackle "big data" challenges October 22nd, 2014

Bipolar Disorder Discovery at the Nano Level: Tiny structures found in brain synapses help scientists better understand disorder October 22nd, 2014

Discoveries

QuantumWise guides the semiconductor industry towards the atomic scale October 24th, 2014

Iranian, Malaysian Scientists Study Nanophotocatalysts for Water Purification October 23rd, 2014

Nanoparticle technology triples the production of biogas October 23rd, 2014

Strengthening thin-film bonds with ultrafast data collection October 23rd, 2014

Announcements

Haydale Secures Exclusive Development and Supply Agreement with Tantec A/S: New reactors to be built and commissioned by Tantec A/S represent another step forward towards the commercialisation of graphene October 24th, 2014

QuantumWise guides the semiconductor industry towards the atomic scale October 24th, 2014

Advancing thin film research with nanostructured AZO: Innovnano’s unique and cost-effective AZO sputtering targets for the production of transparent conducting oxides October 23rd, 2014

Strengthening thin-film bonds with ultrafast data collection October 23rd, 2014

Artificial Intelligence

Iranian Scientists Determine Grain Size, Minimize Time of Nanocomposite Synthesis September 29th, 2014

New computer program aims to teach itself everything about anything June 12th, 2014

Director Wally Pfister joins UC Berkeley neuroengineers to discuss the science behind ‘Transcendence’ April 7th, 2014

Synaptic transistor learns while it computes: First of its kind, brain-inspired device looks toward highly efficient and fast parallel computing November 11th, 2013

Research partnerships

NYU Researchers Break Nano Barrier to Engineer the First Protein Microfiber October 23rd, 2014

Nanoparticle technology triples the production of biogas October 23rd, 2014

RF Heating of Magnetic Nanoparticles Improves the Thawing of Cryopreserved Biomaterials October 23rd, 2014

Brookhaven Lab Launches Computational Science Initiative:Leveraging computational science expertise and investments across the Laboratory to tackle "big data" challenges October 22nd, 2014

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE





  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE