The Physicist and the Neuroscientist: A Tale of Two Connectomes

Written by: Stephen Hsu

Primary Source:  Information Processing

This is video of an excellent talk on the human connectome by neuroscientist Bobby Kasthuri of Argonne National Lab and the University of Chicago. (You can see me sitting on the floor in the corner :-)

The story below is for entertainment purposes only. No triggering of biologists is intended.

The Physicist and the Neuroscientist: A Tale of Two Connectomes

Steve burst into Bobby’s lab, a small metal box under one arm. Startled, Bobby nearly knocked over his Zeiss electron microscope.

I’ve got it! shouted Steve. My former student at DeepBrain sent me one of their first AGI’s. It’s hot out of their 3D neuromorphic chip printer.

This is the thing that talks and understands quantum mechanics? asked Bobby.

Yes, if I just plug it in. He tapped the box — This deep net has 10^10 connections! Within spitting distance of our brains, but much more efficient. They trained it in their virtual simulator world. Some of the algos are based on my polytope paper from last year. It not only knows QM, it understands what you mean by “How much is that doggie in the window?” :-)

Has anyone mapped the connections?

Sort of, I mean the strengths and topology are determined by the training and algos… It was all done virtually. Printed into spaghetti in this box.

We’ve got to scan it right away! My new rig can measure 10^5 connections per second!

What for? It’s silicon spaghetti. It works how it works, but we created it! Specific connections… that’s like collecting postage stamps.

No, but we need to UNDERSTAND HOW IT WORKS!

Why don’t you just ask IT? thought Steve, as he left Bobby’s lab.

More Bobby, with more hair.

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Stephen Hsu
Stephen Hsu is vice president for Research and Graduate Studies at Michigan State University. He also serves as scientific adviser to BGI (formerly Beijing Genomics Institute) and as a member of its Cognitive Genomics Lab. Hsu’s primary work has been in applications of quantum field theory, particularly to problems in quantum chromodynamics, dark energy, black holes, entropy bounds, and particle physics beyond the standard model. He has also made contributions to genomics and bioinformatics, the theory of modern finance, and in encryption and information security. Founder of two Silicon Valley companies—SafeWeb, a pioneer in SSL VPN (Secure Sockets Layer Virtual Private Networks) appliances, which was acquired by Symantec in 2003, and Robot Genius Inc., which developed anti-malware technologies—Hsu has given invited research seminars and colloquia at leading research universities and laboratories around the world.
Stephen Hsu

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