Christian Long

Kwabena Boahen: A Computer That Works Like the Brain

In TED Talks on April 12, 2010 at 10:03 pm

Reflection by JONATHON M.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Kwabena Boahen: A Computer That Works Like the Brain

I believe that the idea that Kwabena brings up is absolutely revolutionary about the way that computers will work in the future.

Most people do not know a whole lot about the working parts of a computer so I will attempt to simplify how it works. If you are a computer guru dont feel affended by my babying of the reader i am just simply trying to make this as readable as possible a computer is made up of many parts but they key parts are the CPU or the proccesor this processes the main workload of the computer and generates logic, there is the GPU the graphical processing unit which takes stress off of the processor and uses its horsepower to generate images rather than physical calculations.

These two parts are the only things you need to know:  a typical house hold computer is probably a dual or quad core computer that fits all of our needs, but wouldnt you be discouraged to buy a computer if you knew how many processes a second our brain does compared to a computer.

The brain does approximately 10 to the 16 processes per second.  That is a HUGE number specifically 1000000000000000.

To equal this calculation power you would need a processor that is roughly 168,000 Mhz, on top of already having a massive amount of processing power in the brain it is so efficient that it only requires 10 watts of power. althought 168,000 Mhz is the physical power to match the brain you would still not recieve anywhere near the actual amount of data that the brain recieves you would need a computer with roughly 120,000 high powered processors. Even though it equals the calculations in every way computers have a major flaw and that is that data must flow to a single point or a bottle neck which all the data must flow to.

The human brain does not have a bottleneck and is therefore extremely efficient.

Another advantage the brain has is that it has what you would call redundant connection’s or multiple versions of the same data making it very durable.  Even if some of the data becomes damaged you still recieve the signal due to many of the same connectors, while computer data is quite fragile because it all must run through one pipeline therefore if the data becomes damaged you just lose it rather than having the redundant connections get it the main center for you.

This is where the theory comes into play.

How can you make a computer work like a brain is to take away the main bottleneck somehow and make redundant connections.  However the technology needed to do this does not yet exist. At this point it is only a tantalizing theory out in the distance but soon someone will figure out the way to get the theory applied to a computer and when that happens all sorts of doors will spring open and Artifical Inteligence along with research will become infinitely better.

The brain is an amazing thing that processes so much stuff per second it is almost immeasurable and quite literally mindblowing if someone can figure out how to make a computer work like a brain the human race and possibly the universe will change.


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