In a paper published earlier this week, IBM researchers made huge strides in mapping the architecture of the brain, charting three times as many connections as any previous study. Where does such a map lead? The future of cognitive computing.
Specifically, the study traced long-distance connections in the brain of a Macaque monkey, the "interstate highways" which transmit information between distant areas of the brain. Said one of the researchers:
We can now gain unprecedented insight into how information travels and is processed across the brain...a stepping stone to both fundamental and applied research in neuroscience and cognitive computing.
Their map depicts 6,602 long-distance connections between 383 different regions of the brain, allowing researchers to grasp how and where the brain sends information better than ever before.
Such data will allow scientists to more accurately perform theoretical analysis—the same type of projections that optimize search engines or track social networks—which will be essential in developing computer chips that can keep up with our brain's immense computational power and navigate its complex architecture.
And of course it's fairly mindblowing to remind yourself that all of this work is being done to chart the vast, mysterious region existing inside your noggin right now. [KurzweilAI]