Dr. Eliasmith, director, Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience at the University of Waterloo and Canada Research Chair in Theoretical Neuroscience presents "How to build a brain?"
Recent high-profile brain simulations, including those of the 1 billion euro Human Brain Project, are very large and complex. However, they do not exhibit interesting behaviours and so are difficult to compare to much of what we know about the brain. In this talk, I describe the methods and tools used to construct what is currently the world's largest functional brain simulation, called the Semantic Pointer Architecture Unified Network (Spaun). I demonstrate the variety of behaviours the model exhibits and show that it is similar in many respects to human and animal behaviour. I argue that constructing such large-scale simulations is critical for advancing our understanding of neural and cognitive function, and I suggest that it helps unify our understanding of how the mind works.
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