UTSA studies brain on path to better computers

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Interactive Supercomputing is talking about one of their customers today. Researchers at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) are using Star-P software to reverse-engineer brain neurons in a quest to build better computers.

Star-P logoA team within UTSA’s biology department is taking advantage of powerful parallel computers to run biologically-realistic simulations of molecular diffusion in neurons. By understanding how neurons process chemical signals when a person learns and remembers information, researchers believe they can create more reliable computers that employ stochastic computing components. Stochastic computing is a type of artificial intelligence which uses probabilistic methods (i.e. chance) to solve problems.

UTSA’s work could also lead to other neurobiological research breakthroughs, particularly in realms of sensory acquisition, motor learning, disease, and higher cognitive functions.

UTSA’s mode of operation is interesting, too. This is an example of a group that’s bridging the gap from desktop to cluster using high-level environments, in this case Star-P.

To this end, the department purchased a Star-P® license to link their desktop computers to an 8-processor parallel cluster, with funding support from the Cajal Neuroscience Research Center and the National Institute of Health. To further accelerate the team’s research, Interactive Supercomputing granted UTSA an additional license to deploy Star-P on a 120-processor cluster in the near future.