Computer pioneer and brain builder to speak at Aberystwyth University
11 October 2017
A pioneering computer scientist who is ‘building a brain’ using a million micro-processors will be speaking at Aberystwyth University on Friday 27 October.
Professor Steve Furber, ICL Professor of Computer Engineering at Manchester University will be speaking at an event hosted by the Institute of Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science and BCS, the Chartered Institute of IT.
In his lecture, Building Brains, Professor Furber will discuss The Turing Test and why it is important to return to the source of natural intelligence, the human brain, if true artificial intelligence is to be developed.
As part of Acorn Computers in the 1980s, Professor Furber was a principal designer of the BBC Microcomputer which helped to bring computing into people’s homes and schools.
His pioneering role was later dramatised in BBC television’s Micro Men drama.
He also co-designed the transformational ARM microprocessor which remains the foundation of mobile computing worldwide and is found in all kinds of common devices, from our smartphones to the family car.
Professor Furber is now building the first low-power, large-scale digital system to support real-time neural network models of the human brain.
His pioneering approach has led to the development of the SpiNNaker machine (Spiking Neural Network architecture),a key player in the €1 billion Human Brain Project, a major European project to build an ICT-based research infrastructure helping scientists work together in the fields of neuroscience, computing and brain related medicine.
According to Professor Furber, SpiNNaker has been 18 years in its conception and 10 years in construction “and is now ready to contribute to the growing global community that is aiming to deploy the vast computing resources now available to us to accelerate our understanding of the brain”.
Professor Qiang Shen, Director of the Institute of Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science at Aberystwyth said: "Prof Furber is a living legend in computer science and engineering and we are delighted he has accepted our invitation to speak here at Aberystwyth University.”
“He has made exceptional contributions to the IT profession and industry and was one of the key designers of the famous BBC Micro and ARM microprocessors. In recognition of his outstanding contributions, he was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society in 2002, awarded a CBE in 2008 and received the Millennium Technology Prize (which is widely regarded as the Nobel prize in technology) in 2010. He was made a Distinguished Fellow of the BCS in 2014, joining the likes of Bill Gates and Tim Berners Lee.”
“This is an unmissable opportunity to hear one of the leading lights in computer science speak about his work and builds on our mission at Aberystwyth University to provide impactful experiences in a creative and constructive learning environment”, added Professor Shen.
The lecture takes place in lecture theatre A12 in the Hugh Owen Building on Friday 27 October between 4pm and 5.15pm and is open to all staff and students.
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