Reverse Engineering the Mind with Brain Corp. CEO Eugene Izhikevich

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Neurosciences Institute, I was mostly doing 1, but a bit of 1 and 2. I did 3 on the largest possible scale.”

In laying out the BRAIN initiative last week, the White House said it plans to provide $110 million in federal funding for the initiative in fiscal year 2014, which begins in October. According to a White House fact sheet, $40 million would come from National Institutes of Health, $20 million from the National Science Foundation, and $50 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which provided some funding to Brain Corp. in 2010.

(Private research institutes also have promised to provide funding for the BRAIN Initiative, including $60 million from the Allen Institute for Brain Science, $30 million from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, $28 million from the Salk Institute, and $4 million from the Kavli Foundation. The total from both government and private sources is $232 million.)

Izhikevich agreed to answer a few questions about his work by e-mail. He would not discuss aspects of the technology under development at Brain Corp., or how it would be applied commercially.

Xconomy: How is the technology you’re developing conceptually different from advanced artificial intelligence and neural network systems in use today?

Eugene Izhikevich: We base our models on neuroscience, rather than on computer science. We try to mimic the neuro-computational processes that take place in the brain, as opposed to capturing logical or statistical computations as AI researchers do.

What we do could be classified as a “biological neural network” system. However, our models are much closer to biology (in dynamics and scale) compared with traditional neural nets. In particular, we use spiking neurons and … Next Page »

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Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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