As we pointed out earlier this week, we’re still far from being able to replicate the awesome power of the human brain. So rather than use traditional models of computing, IBM has decided to design an entirely new computer architecture — one that’s taking inspiration from nature.
For nearly 70 years, computer scientists have depended upon the Von Neumann architecture. The computer that you’re working on right now still uses this paradigm — an electronic digital system driven by processors and consisting of various processing units, including an arithmetic logic unit, a control unit, memory, and input/output mechanisms. These separate units store and process information sequentially, and they use programming languages designed specifically for those architectures.
But the human brain, which most certainly must be a kind of computer, works a lot differently. It’s a massively parallel, massively redundant “computer” capable of generating approximately 10x16 processes per second. It’s doubtful that it’s as serialized as the Von Neumann model. Nor is it driven by a proprietary programming language (though, as many cognitive scientists would argue, it’s likely driven by biologically encoded algorithms). Instead, the brain’s neurons and synapses store and process information in a highly distributed, parallel way.
Which is exactly how IBM’s new programming language, called Corelet, works as well. The company disclosed its plans at the the International Joint Conference on Neural Networks held this week in Dallas.