RE: [Fwd: [>Htech] Artificial Development to Build World's Biggest Spiking Neural Network]

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Tue Sep 16 2003 - 18:12:28 MDT

Hi Marcos,

Sorry if my comments seemed too skeptical and not understanding enough of
the nature of your enterprise. I get that way sometimes, especially when my
obsession with AI leads me to cut my sleeping hours too short ;-)

I certainly agree that having a large-scale distributed platform for neural
computing will be a very good thing. And I'm glad you agree that, to get
real value out of this network for AI (or for theoretical neuroscience, for
that matter), a lot of hard thinking will need to be done regarding the
specific design of the neural network being run on this exciting new

I agree that neuroscience, in itself, does not currently provide enough
guidance to create a highly intelligent, large-scale neural net. What it
provides is general guidance, and the rest of the architecture of your NN
will have to be figured out through intuitive combination of information
from neuroscience, psychology, computer science, with a healthy dose of pure

If you ever feel interested in doing some collaborative thinking on how to
structure your mega neural network in a useful way, I'm sure that both Peter
Voss and I would be very willing to toss around some ideas together with
your team. While we don't have hardware infrastructures on the scale of
yours, we've been thinking about how to structure quasi-neural computing
systems for quite some time (although my own AI design Novamente, isn't
really all that quasi-neural anymore, it did start out that way).

-- Ben G

> -----Original Message-----
> From: []On Behalf Of Peter
> Voss
> Sent: Tuesday, September 16, 2003 7:12 PM
> To:
> Subject: RE: [Fwd: [>Htech] Artificial Development to Build World's
> Biggest Spiking Neural Network]
> I attended you presentation too, Marcos.
> Good luck with your enterprise, and I hope that sometime in the future we
> can collaborate.
> Best,
> Peter
> -----Original Message-----
> From: []On Behalf Of AD.COM -
> Marcos Guillen
> Sent: Tuesday, September 16, 2003 2:31 PM
> To:
> Subject: RE: [Fwd: [>Htech] Artificial Development to Build World's
> Biggest Spiking Neural Network]
> >I saw the same talk as Ben, and his post pretty much sums it up. The
> >current model of the brain this group has is rather simplistic, to say
> >the least. On the other hand, the architecture of their system seems
> >to allow fairly rapid additions to the model.
> >
> >
> >From: Ben Goertzel []
> >> I just saw a talk by one of the leaders of this enterprise,
> >> at the Accelerating Change 2003 conference.
> >>
> >> It's an interesting effort, but they seem to have no
> >> particular insight into the operation of the human brain ...
> Yea, I agree. At Artificial Development, we have no particular
> insight into
> the operation of the human brain, and we are rather simplistic folks.
> Further more, we are not that smart, either. Nothing to see here, keep on
> moving :-)
> Anyway, I would like to thank you both, Ramez and Ben, for attending our
> presentation, it was a pleasure talking for such a qualified
> audience. It is
> great to be able to exchange ideas with people like you.
> We are computer engineers, no neurologist, and we are aware that our
> immediate goals may not seem that interesting from a theorist perspective.
> Our goal is to build a system capable of algorithmically operating over
> billions of neuron and trillions of connections, in real time.
> Sounds fun to
> you? Well, for us it is, and it's quit a challenge: CCortex data
> matrix is a
> number of times bigger than Google.
> You seem to be concern with what you perceive as a 'simplistic'
> approach, in
> what specific operations do we perform, and what parameters we are
> considering. Well, so we do. We don't think that there is enough knowledge
> out there to define the precise operations we must necessarily perform to
> correctly update our artificial brain. We do not have any special,
> 'particular insight' into the human brain, no mystic, sudden revelation
> here.
> In fact, the only thing we are really sure about is that neither
> we, neither
> other competing groups know enough at this point; and those are precisely
> the foundations of our project: A versatile, flexible, powerful, easy to
> adapt, pure software implementations.
> By design, we can modify the central algorithm governing the
> update over the
> weekend, to accommodate different theories. We keep individual
> memory space
> for each neuron to accommodate a number of fields of updatable data
> pertaining to the neuron body, plus vector, positioning and weigh data
> fields for and average 1,000 connections per neuron. What fields? Those we
> deem necessary in each run. What operations? Any operation we may
> need. Most
> operation has low computing requirements, while the rest are being
> approximated or pre-calculated and stored on a database. After
> all, after a
> few cycles, the bulk of the possible operations to perform in our
> data space
> has been already calculated, and is susceptible of being sampled,
> stored and
> reused with minimum error margins.
> Finally, keep in mind that, also by design, we are a privately
> held company,
> and we are not aiming for the sort term. We do not depend of outside
> financing, and we do not need to spend that much time with things like
> customers, academic peer approval, or even (mostly nonexistent)
> competitors.
> And yes, we are here to stay, but don't expect our 1 week old
> cluster to be
> ready for prime time any time soon: this are just the first steps
> on a long
> term project, and it's no time yet for Eliezer to start freaking out :-)
> Best Regards,
> Marcos Guillen
> President and CEO
> Artificial Development, Inc.
> Best Regards,
> Marcos Guillen

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