Narayanan provides Congressional briefing on brain-inspired computer systems

7/24/2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Vijaykrishnan Narayanan, Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Penn State, provided a briefing last week on brain-inspired computing systems at a hearing hosted by the Senate and House National Labs Caucuses.

U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah delivered the openings remarks at the event, which focused on neuroscience research and its impact on the future of advanced computer design.  In 2013, President Obama announced the launch of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative, a new enterprise focused on revolutionizing our understanding of the human brain.

The briefing gave researchers an opportunity to discuss why their work is so important and how it can help to create more powerful computing technology.

“A key component of research work is to educate the broader society about the implications of investment, or lack of it, in critical technologies vital to our country,” said Narayanan. “The broader impact is a key component of all projects funded by our government.”

The briefing showcased how advances in computing technology are enhancing our ability to understand the brain and enabling engineers to build more powerful computing systems. In addition to Narayanan, other featured experts from Argonne National Labs, IBM, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory also spoke.

Narayanan conveyed how understanding the human visual cortex enables the design of intelligent camera systems that can aid visually impaired people. He also stressed the importance of funding initiatives such as the National Science Foundation Expeditions in Computing program to help the U.S. maintain its competitive technological edge. Narayanan currently leads an interdisciplinary, multi-institution “Visual Cortex on Silicon” program.

Peter Zientara, a graduate student in computer science and engineering also participated in the event and provided demonstrations of smart camera systems built by the researchers from the Visual Cortex on Silicon team.

 

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