Nvidia chip team gets 25 million dollars from US military

Aug 10, 2010
Tesla C2050 GPU Computing Processor

Nvidia on Monday said it is leading a team awarded 25 million dollars by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to create a chip that leaves today's super computers in the dust.

The Nvidia team was on of four granted DARPA research contracts aimed at making supercomputers a thousand times more powerful with technology from graphics processing units (GPUs) used to power realistic videogame action.

Graphics chips (GPUs) break complex tasks into parts and handle them simultaneously while central processing units typically used in computers tend to projects in sequence, hurrying from start to finish in order.

"This recognizes Nvidia's substantial investments in the field of and highlights GPU computing's position as one of the most promising paths to exascale computing," said Nvidia chief scientist Bill Dally.

"We look forward to collaborating to develop programmable, scalable systems that operate in tight power budgets and deliver increases in performances that are many orders of magnitude above today's systems."

team members include Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee; Seattle-based company Cray Inc., and a set of US universities.

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User comments : 14

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Buyck
4.3 / 5 (6) Aug 10, 2010
Like i said many times in my comments... the road to exascale is open! On that level a new world will be opened. On that level we can do things that are unthinkable today. Like a real-time virtual brain.
lengould100
3.7 / 5 (6) Aug 10, 2010
Can't even match the brain of a fruit-fly yet. I suspect human brain capability is a ways further out.
Parsec
3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 10, 2010
Can't even match the brain of a fruit-fly yet. I suspect human brain capability is a ways further out.


It wasn't too long ago that even approaching a simulation of the fruit fly brain was inconceivable. I suspect however that it will take significant money to develop the kinds of parallel processing and very highly connected circuits with low power consumption (at least 3 or 4 orders of magnitude better than now) that will lead to a virtual brain of any size. More hope for this can be found with people pushing that path more directly.
droid001
3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 10, 2010
Do we need a simulated human brain? I think we need something specialized and millions times more powerful.
Assistants, which we can place some of the tasks.
Mister_Sinister
5 / 5 (6) Aug 10, 2010
At last a spin-off from civilian technology for military uses :)
Sanescience
2.5 / 5 (2) Aug 10, 2010
Simulating the human brain assumes we know how it works. We don't, but trying to model it might get us there.

Can you imagine the first "success", someone, or something suddenly becoming conscious, trapped in a computer without a body. It will probably go insane rather quickly.
Chef
5 / 5 (2) Aug 10, 2010
Soon SkyNet will become self-aware.

Actually, I see this as a great deal for Nvidia in that they get to further research their GPGPU which can only lead to better cards for us nerds and geeks.
YawningDog
5 / 5 (2) Aug 10, 2010
Fruit fly brain - I remember my FORTRAN instructor (circa 1969) pontificating about how computers were good for certain things such as math calculations and doing payrolls but they would never be able to do things that required human intelligence...such as play chess.

dirk_bruere
5 / 5 (1) Aug 10, 2010
Fruit fly brains have been bypassed.
Blue Brain has already modelled a 10,000 neuron neocortical column based on a rat brain. They are scaling up with computing power to Human level eventually.
http://bluebrain.epfl.ch/

"The facility has been used to build the first model of the neocortical column, which consists of 10,000 3D digitizations of real neurons that are populated with model ion channels constrained by the genetic makeup of over 200 different types of neurons. A parallel supercomputer is used to build the model and perform the experiments so that the behavior of the tissue can be predicted through simulations.
...
First, the Blue Brain team is intensifying its efforts to extend the facility to support modeling of the subcellular domain, which will integrate additional levels of biological detail into the existing neocortical column model
...
Ultimately, given additional resources, the facility can be extended to permit whole brain modeling, simulation and experimentation
abhishekbt
not rated yet Aug 10, 2010
I don't know how the discussion veered towards Brains!

Maybe the military wants to do away with their old war simulations and give its soldiers the latest playing machines! Look up the Sony PS move video online. That is as close to fighting a real war as it can get. (atleast for civilians!)
DamienS
not rated yet Aug 11, 2010
Simulating the human brain assumes we know how it works. We don't, but trying to model it might get us there.

Can you imagine the first "success", someone, or something suddenly becoming conscious, trapped in a computer without a body. It will probably go insane rather quickly.

This is the best bet so far...
http://bluebrain.epfl.ch/
Au-Pu
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 11, 2010
Computers remain 1% performance and 99% hype.
Even to beat Kasparov they had to load every move he had ever made into big blue so it could beat him using probability tables and then try to claim it was intelligence.
The computer industries dream of true AI is still so far away that it is unlikely to be achieved in this century. How can it be when neurological scientists have not as yet developed a full understanding of the human brains functioning.
Computers remain good storage and retrieval devices and excellent calculators for all manner of math.
But conscious, aware thinking entities, not for awhile yet.
trekgeek1
4.7 / 5 (3) Aug 11, 2010
Computers remain 1% performance and 99% hype.
Even to beat Kasparov they had to load every move he had ever made into big blue so it could beat him using probability tables and then try to claim it was intelligence.
The computer industries dream of true AI is still so far away that it is unlikely to be achieved in this century. How can it be when neurological scientists have not as yet developed a full understanding of the human brains functioning.
Computers remain good storage and retrieval devices and excellent calculators for all manner of math.
But conscious, aware thinking entities, not for awhile yet.


And how do we know that your brain isn't referencing lookup tables and giving the most pertinent response based on probability? Until you specifically define "intelligence", it is pointless to claim that a computer cannot achieve it. If a computer passes the Turing test, can we not claim it possesses sentience and intelligence?
Arkaleus
not rated yet Sep 27, 2010
Oh, good, now lets give it guns and make it serve something unrestrained by any of our laws.

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