[Comp-neuro] Request for Information on Neurally-Inspired Computing Principles

R. Jacob Vogelstein jacob.vogelstein at iarpa.gov
Mon Jan 4 22:09:56 CET 2016

Hi all, IARPA has just released a new Request for Information (RFI) on
"neurally-inspired computing principles," and I'm hopeful that members of
this community will submit some interesting whitepapers in response.  Note
that the RFI is issued solely for information gathering purposes, and does
not constitute a formal solicitation for proposals.  IARPA anticipates that
responses to this RFI will be used to help organize a workshop on this
topic at the 2016 Neuro Inspired Computational Elements conference (
http://niceworkshop.org/) and to inform future programs in this technical
area.  The full text of the announcement is published at
https://www.fbo.gov/notices/7ea2ad0e075b31c05a011f2d835392a9; a brief
synopsis is presented below.


Seventy years ago, John von Neumann found inspiration for the design of the
EDVAC in what was then known about the design of the brain.  However,
despite the early influence of neuroscience on what has become known as the
von Neumann architecture, the principles of computing underlying today’s
state of the art digital systems deviate substantially from the principles
that govern computing in the brain.  In particular, whereas mainstream
computers rely on synchronous operations, high precision, and clear
physical and conceptual separations between storage, data, and logic; the
brain relies on asynchronous messaging, low precision storage that is
co-localized with processing, and dynamic memory structures that change on
both short and long time scales.  To understand the potential opportunities
and challenges in developing next-generation computers that exploit these
and other principles of neural computing, IARPA is seeking information from
two groups of experts: (1) computer scientists with experience in designing
or building computing systems that rely on the same or similar principles
as those employed by the brain; and (2) neuroscientists who have credible
ideas for how neural computing principles can offer practical benefits for
next-generation computers.

Responses to this RFI should clearly and concisely answer the questions
posed below (to neuroscientists, computer scientists, or both) in one or
more of the four topics described in detail in the full text of this
announcement (https://www.fbo.gov/notices/7ea2ad0e075b31c05a011f2d835392a9):

Topic 1: Spike-based representations
Topic 2: Asynchronous computation
Topic 3: Learning
Topic 4: Co-local memory storage and computation

Responses to this RFI are due no later than 5:00pm Eastern Time on January
29, 2016.  IARPA appreciates responses from all capable and qualified
sources from within and outside of the US.  Inquiries to this RFI must be
submitted to dni-iarpa-rfi-16-02 at iarpa.gov.

R. Jacob Vogelstein, Ph.D.
Program Manager
301-851-7497 (office)
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