Laboratory for Neuroinformatics — launched by Virginia Tech Computer Science Dept. and General Motors R & D Center


neuroinformatic mapping

GM, Virginia Tech Collaborate to Advance Neuroinformatics

HPC wire

“… Advances in sensing technologies have made exquisite measurements of brain activity possible in the past decade. Using these measurements, computer scientists will now help neuroscientists discover the complex neuronal networks in the brain that result in the actions we take for granted, like reaching for a glass of water.

General Motors (GM) officials visited the Virginia Tech computer science department to launch the Laboratory for Neuroinformatics. Naren Ramakrishnan, associate professor of computer science, and his students will collaborate with K.P. Unnikrishnan, research scientist at the General Motors R&D Center, to create new algorithms that will process the massive amounts of data neuroscientists are now able to collect from the brain. Ramakrishnan and Unnikrishnan will be the co-directors of the laboratory.

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“‘Virginia Tech’s emphasis on interdisciplinary research across traditional department boundaries is what attracted us here,’ said Jeffrey D. Tew, a General Motors Technical Fellow and Group Manager at its Research and Development Center. ‘We think of this collaboration as a start to identifying emerging technologies for General Motors in the near future. The discovery projects are aimed at such basic research.’

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“But the most compelling application is in neuroscience.

“‘Creation of brain-machine interfaces is the next frontier,’ said Unnikrishnan. ‘Recording from a large number of neurons and deciphering the underlying neuronal network might enable interfaces with prosthetic devices, such as the creation of an artificial retina. Giving senses to people who have lost them — vision, touch, hearing, and motor — would be a contribution to humanity.’ An even more ambitious goal would be to “discover the neural code” leading to fundamental insights about information processing, memory, and higher-level functions.'” (full article)

Image credit: Lars Kai Hansen Technical University of Denmark

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Newcomb’s commentary: “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” Dr. Carl Sagan



if you build it, they may come — artificially intelligent teachers? … a world of students await their teachers

Peruvian students at the Cuna Jardin Armatambo

Peruvian students

$1 million grant brings artificial intelligence to schools

Machines like us — Science News

“Imagine a writing teacher being able to assign 24 essays a year to each student in her class — and not having to worry about grading a single one. That’s the promise of a new computer-based writing program that will be rolled out at six elementary schools and three middle schools in the Capistrano Unified School District early next year, funded by a $971,614 federal grant to improve technology and electronic learning resources.

“‘Students will create and submit a piece of writing to an artificial intelligence software program, and immediately the system sends back a score and suggestions for improvement,’ said Susan Holliday, educational technology director for Capistrano Unified. ‘We’re really focusing on students learning and not just on the technology.'”

Image credit Wagner College: Expanding Your Horizons

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Newcomb’s commentary: “It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known, but to question it.” Jacob Bronowski


fusing human cognition and AI processing into super awareness

Borg Queen -- StarTrek Voyager Dark Frontier

Borg Queen — Dark Frontier

U.S. military fusing human and artificial intelligence


“The U.S. military is funding a project to integrate human with artificial intelligence. Problem: Human brains are superior to computers at visual recognition but inferior at information processing. Solution: human-machine integration. Human component: A soldier or analyst who scans scenes or images. Machine component: Sensors that monitor the brain’s activity and relay information about it to commanders or computers. Analytical application: Computers identify images and image areas flagged by the human scan and select those for more thorough scrutiny. Battlefield applications: 1) A prototype helmet already delivers “a visual readout for combat commanders showing the cognitive patterns of individual Soldiers.” 2) “Brain pattern and heart rate data from system-equipped soldiers will be transmitted wirelessly to commanders in real-time to improve overall battlefield information management and decision-making.” Project buzzwords: “real-time cognitive state assessment,” “networked soldiers,” “Augmented Cognition,” “human-computer warfighting integral.” Translation: We’re fielding cyborgs. Human Nature’s prediction: The next step will be to remove the human component from the battlefield and let machines provide the sensor mobility as well as the information processing. (Related: civilian cyborg enthusiasts; fighting terrorists with bomb-detecting robots.)” (article)

Image credit: Starman Borg Queen in Star Trek Voyager — Dark Frontier

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Newcomb’s commentary:

“Unity itself and the idea of Unity are already two.”   Buddha 

“You imply disparity where none exists. I am the Collective … I am the beginning, the end, the one who is many. I am the Borg.” Borg queen

if you build it, they may come — artificially intelligent prosthetics


Proprio: artificially intelligent prosthesis

Intelligent prosthetic unveiled: PROPRIO foot can think for itself!


“After I saw an amputee drag himself up Mt.Everest with his prosthetic leg, I knew that the world of prosthesis still has a long ways to go. Although, many would argue that it has come a long ways already. The artificial hands and legs are being fitted with microprocessors and they are gifted with Artificial Intelligence. The latest high tech device called PROPRIO foot is the most happening news in the world of prosthesis.

“Over the past few years, many folks throughout the U.S. have adopted the technologically advanced hand or foot! The best part about the PROPRIO foot is that it thinks for itself. It wonderfully adjusts itself to varied terrain. The most advanced censor in the foot helps the food do wonders!” . . . (full article)
Image credit: Medgear

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Newcomb’s commentary: “Every great advance in science has issued from a new audacity of the imagination.” John Dewey


UCSF team scores at International Genetically Engineered Machine competition


UCSF team


From High School to International Triumph

UCSF Today  by Wallace Ravven

“They came. They genetically engineered. They conquered.

“After a summer at UCSF working on their own genetic engineering project, six students just out of high school and one undergraduate have just taken one of the top honors in an international competition among universities as familiar as Caltech and distant as Peking University.

“The contest, known as the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition, is sponsored by MIT, and included teams from MIT, Harvard, Princeton and about 20 European and Asian universities.

“College undergraduates aiming for careers in engineering or biotechnology make up nearly all the teams. The UCSF-based team of high school grads and one college undergrad were advised by UCSF graduate students and postdoc mentors. The team ended up with a gold medal for the highest level of presentation of their scheme to fashion a new kind of organelle inside a living cell.

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“‘If we wanted a new organelle to become, let’s say, a drug- or biofuel-producing site inside a cell, the first step would be to create the new organelle by marking it with its own phosphate bar code. That’s what the team has been trying to do,’ [Michael] Chen said. Over the summer, the team made substantial steps in engineering molecular machines that could create this new phosphate based code.

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“Jimmy Huang, one of the students on the UCSF-based team and now a freshman at UC Davis, filed a blog on the team’s experience” . . . (full article)

Image Credit:  Jimmy Huang blog

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Newcomb’s commentary:  “The process of scientific discovery is, in effect, a continual flight from wonder.” Albert Einstein


if you build it, they may come — there’s gold in them thar AI hills!



US Gold Will Use DIAGNOS’ Artificial Intelligence Technology to Target Gold, Silver and Copper in North-Central Nevada

Press Release — Market Wire 

 “… DIAGNOS … a leader in the use of artificial intelligence (“AI”) and advanced knowledge extraction techniques, announced today that US Gold … will use its technology on a large land area with the purpose of identify new targets for gold, silver and copper on its properties of north-central Nevada. The surface to be analyzed represents approximately 15,000 square kilometers.” . . . (full article)

Image credit:  Learn History

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Newcomb’s commentary: “When gold argues the cause, eloquence is impotent.” Publilius Syrus


is open-source emerging as a “swarm intelligence” — by distributing sudden solutions without centralized control ?


shadows of sudden change for some software giants ?

Artificial Life, Inc. Announces Support of Google’s Open Source Android Mobile Platform

Trading  HONG KONG (PrimeNewswire)

“… Hong Kong-based Artificial Life, Inc. … a leading provider of award-winning mobile 3G technology and applications, today announced their plans to develop new and innovatively designed games and applications for Google’s free and open source mobile platform, Android.

“The company anticipates that this emerging platform will soon attract handset manufacturers because of the lower costs for the operating system and expects Android to be successful especially in China due to its Linux base.” … (full article)

Image credit:

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Newcomb’s commentary: “Progress has not followed a straight ascending line, but a spiral with rhythms of progress and retrogression, of evolution and dissolution.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe