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Interview: Computing Models Inspired by the Brain

Prof.Dr. Karlheinz MeierOver at International Science Grid this Week, Nages Sieslack has posted a fascinating interview with Karlheinz Meier, professor of experimental physics at Heidelberg University’s Kirchhoff Institute of Physics. As one of the co-directors of Europe’s Human Brain Project, Meier will deliver a keynote at ISC’14 on the topic of “Brain-derived computing beyond Von Neumann – achievements and challenges.

For the ATLAS experiment at CERN, I designed and built a large-scale, mixed-signal electronic data-processing system that analyzes information from 8,000 channels 40 million times per second. To achieve this, I founded a laboratory for microelectronics at Heidelberg University, Germany, back in 1994. At some point, I learned about electronic models of brain cells and realized that it must be possible to build physical copies of these models in VLSI electronics. We started with small student projects and now the research has reached a very exciting scale. I decided to give up my particle physics research and dedicate my research to these new, brain-inspired computers. I strongly believe that there is large potential in this work for both fundamental research and applications.

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