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At the CARD group biological/digital hybrid machines is a resent approach to unconventional computing machines. The morphogenetic engineering initiative and the NTNU Cyborg project are project including such hybrid computers.
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The basic methods in this project will be Reservoir Computing exploiting Self-modifying network based on growing neural cultures and artificial neural networks as readout layer.
The long term goal is to understand how to construct hybrid machines, and/or to use inspiration from such machines to design bio-inspired computers.
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This project is part of the NTNU Cyborg project and related research, -see:
The goal is to be able to use a living growing neural culture as control system for a robot. The robot will be a Pepper (www.ald.softbankrobotics.com/en/cool-robots/pepper).
The goal is to enable an interface that can use the sensory information from the robot to stimulate the robot and enable the neural response to control robot movments.
Within the NTNU Cyborg project there is software and hardware for lowlevel communication with the neural culture. As such, the work will be mostly software orientated. However, a large part of the work will be exploration of signal representation to enable communication between computers and biological networks.
Keywords: Unconventional computation, vast parallelism, cellular machines, artificial development, artificial life, complex systems, CAs, programming, VHDL, FPGA.
The main long term goal of this project aims toward computational paradigms beyond today's machines and technology; Rethinking the fundamentals of computation
Ongoing research on cellular architectures explores parallel machines consisting of a vast amount of simple processing elements with only local communication. A key feature of such machine is self-assembly/self-organization. Further, the combination of dynamic systems and Artificial Neural Networks (ANN) is an emerging field of research. As such, design and implementation of ANN modules for readout is part of the project.
In the CARD group custom FPGA based machines are an important research tool. .
The goal of this project is to continue the work on our current FPGA based cellular machine to a new FPGA platform. Key aspects are performance and scalability. The new platform is a server with 4 state-off-the-art FPGAs cards using shared memory for communication.
A preliminary plan:
-Evaluation of current platform HW and SW.
-Explore pro and cons of the system
-Propose architecture for the new FPGA platform.
-Continue the design and implementation of HW and SW.
Experiments and evaluation of ANN learning processes will be part of the project.
The hardware is currently in Chisel and VHDL. Software is a c library for communication and configuration.
More the one student is possible.
Conway FPGA cards
Bio-inspired hardware (POE)
Development of non-uniform CAs
Book on non-uniform CAs and cellular machines
Reservoir Computing paper