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Science and the Environment

Grant Goes to Research for Computers with Brain-like Intelligence

Missouri State University

Almost $200,000 worth of grants were given out to three separate research projects this week on Missouri State University’s campus. KSMU’s Shannon Bowers has this report on how one of these research programs is trying to give computers brain-like intelligence.

Merging together applied and theoretical sciences to make a device that can emulate human thought, is not just an idea from IRobot. It is what is actually happening thanks to Dr. Steve Younger, professor of Applied Sciences and Engineering Research, and Dr. Emmett Redd, professor of Physics, Astronomy, and Material Science at MSU. Their project is called “Super-Turing Computation and Brain-like Intelligence.”

The $139,134 grant, awarded by The National Science Foundation, will go toward making computation model hardware to do digital computing better than even digital computers can.  Dr. Younger believes that this type of computer could be just as powerful as, the better known, quantum computer, without the quantum tangles.

“Depending upon the results it could result in a computer for things that are better for robotics, artificial intelligence, and learning,” said Dr. Younger.

He goes onto explain that a computer like this would further technology in things like speech recognition with a more flexible computing system, and understanding speech patterns better and faster. 

“The standard computers are fast. They are fast idiots. They have no common sense. They can’t learn. They are fast and can do calculations. We are attempting to do a computer that we hope will do better in doing the type of things that are useful in brain-like intelligence,” said Dr. Younger.

In the next year, both Dr. Younger and his co-principal investigator Dr. Redd hope to do research with graduate students and make a working model of the “Super-Turing Computation and Brain-like Intelligence” hardware.

Other projects to receive funding this week include a $49,859 grant from the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses, with a goal of obtaining enough information to help set a standard for the Medical-surgical nursing practices.  A $10,000 grant was also awarded from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for the project “Missouri Integrated Model,” which addresses the practices in student achievement and student behavior.

For KSMU News I’m Shannon Bowers.