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Full With Noise: Theory and Japanese Noise Music
by Paul Hegarty.......... "Full with Noise,..." is about noise music, specifically the version that has come to be called Japanese Noise -- itself composed of many different strands. The first half deals with the question of noise. What is it, whose is it, and how can we think about it. Also, how does noise inflect our thinking, rather than being an object; at what point does noise lose its noiseness and become meaning, music, signification? Or -- is there even a point where noise can subsist? Mostly, the text below takes the view that noise is a function of not-noise, itself a function of not being noise. Noise is no more original than music or meaning, and yet its position is to indicate the banished, overcome primordiality, and cannot lose this 'meaning'. Noise, then, is neither the outside of language nor music, nor is it simply categorisable, at some point or other, as belonging exclusively to the world of meaning, understanding, truth and knowledge. Read More ...
Dirty HC Punk explosion - Bristol scene Rise up + Disorder 9 free CDs
From The Cortinas to Lunatic Fringe and Disorder, Bristol had a huge Punk scene that has influenced, affected and stimulated a vast range of artists that operate in the city. Many of these artists produce music that wouldn’t necessarily suggest a Punk heritage but scratch beneath the surface of a lot of the major players in the Bristol milieu and you will find a fondness for the times of `spikey barnets’, limited musical ability, a `F*** You’ attitude and disrespect for the music industry and its poseur hierarchy. Read More ...
Dinosaur Jr.
Beyond + 17 albums free download
A straight shot west out of Boston on I-90 will carry you, in two hours or less, to Western Massachusetts, where the country still looks like it did twenty or even 40 years ago: college towns, I-91 tracing the same lazy ladder from Springfield up through Holyoke and Northampton, Amherst and Deerfield. Out there it's taken for granted that the houses will be drafty, the winters uniformly long, and that, on any given trip to the local supermarket, one might spot Thurston or Lou or Kim or J, on-and-off locals for more than twenty years. {audio}http://www.archive.org/download/DinosaurJrDrawings/07Drawerings_64kb.mp3{/audio} ... Drawerings Read More ...
Leon Theremin /1896-1993/ - the great forefather of Rock N' Roll /big noise master/
In 1919, in the midst of the Russian Civil War, Theremin invented the musical instrument that bears his name. The theremin is an electronic device that resonates sound when its operator waves his hands near its two antennas. It was the first musical instrument designed to be played without being touched. He invented the theremin (also called the thereminvox) in 1919, when his country was in the midst of the Russian Civil War. After a lengthy tour of Europe, during which he demonstrated his invention to full audiences, Theremin found his way to the United States. He performed the theremin with the New York Philharmonic in 1928. He patented his invention in 1929 (U.S. Patent 1,661,058 ) and subsequently granted commercial production rights to RCA. In 1938 Theremin was kidnapped in the New York apartment he shared with his American wife (the black ballet dancer, Iavana Williams) by the NKVD (forerunners of the KGB). He was transported back to Russia, and accused of propagating anti-Soviet propaganda by Stalin. Read More ...
Animal Collective
Album: Fall Be Kind + 9 albums free download
By way of decrying a society that left its citizens unbearably restrained, Edith Wharton describes how in New York in the 1870s, women would order dresses from their Paris dressmakers and then leave them in tissue paper at least two years before wearing them in public; the thought of showing them "in advance of the fashion" was unforgivably vulgar. Social life has changed, but cultural life seems just as restricted now – even Animal Collective are held back by trends that seem a couple of years old (and that they helped to invent). When I think back on 2009, I’ll first remember how our impoverished aesthetic generation repeatedly scraped the resin from the cultural trash barrel. Every second person is wearing neon leggings, and the ones who aren’t rock a ‘70s aesthetic, with high-waisted jeans and moccasins. Christmas sweaters are getting impossible to find at the thrift store. Ska revival. Garage rock revival. It never ends. Read More ...
Guapo
Elixirs
For just over 10 years, London's Guapo has been working in the world of avant and progressive rock. The band's past is a bit hard to track with its numerous lineup changes and guest musicians. The most recent change in roster was the resignation of Matthew Thompson, the founding member of Guapo, which occurred just before the release of 2005's Black Oni. The departure of Thompson has left Guapo with percussionist David Smith and multi-instrumentalist Daniel O'Sullivan. Though O'Sullivan is by no means a founding member of the band, but he was essential in honing the sound on Guapo's last two LPs: Five Suns and Black Oni. These two albums have been pivotal in building Guapo's following of fans, so it's hard not to credit O'Sullivan as an asset to the band.... {audio}http://www.neurotrecordings.com/artists/guapo/audio/Guapo-The%20Selenotrope.mp3 {/audio} ... The Selenotrope Read More ...
The Swans - THIS IS NOT A REUNION - Message From Gira + free discography download (20 CDs)
Michael Gira's re-activated Swans will be undertaking their first U.S. performances in 13 years, celebrating the Fall release of the first new Swans album since Soundtracks For The Blind (1997). The album was recorded by Jason LeFarge at Seizure's Palace in Brooklyn and is currently be remixed by Gira with Bryce Goggin (Antony & The Johnsons, Akron/Family) at Trout Recordings. Read More ...
New Zealand Psychedelic Noise scene + 6 free CDs
For a small country New Zealand has long been pumping out some impressive music. Way back in the 1960s it was crazed long-haired punkers messed up on all sorts of stuff - musical (the Pretty Things, Love, the 13th Floor Elevators, the Troggs and who-knows-what-else) and I guess otherwise. Some of the best of these bands (at least, the ones that recorded) can be heard on Wild Things vol 1 and 2, compiled by NZ music historian John Baker, the first of which came out on Flying Nun, the second probably on Baker's own Zero Records, also the home to No. 8 Wire: Psychedelia Without Drugs. Read More ...

Odd

Cyberwar Hype Intended to Destroy the Open Internet
The biggest threat to the open internet is not Chinese government hackers or greedy anti-net-neutrality ISPs, it’s Michael McConnell, the former director of national intelligence. McConnell’s not dangerous because he knows anything about SQL injection hacks, but because he knows about social engineering. He’s the nice-seeming guy who’s willing and able to use fear-mongering to manipulate the federal bureaucracy for his own ends, while coming off like a straight shooter to those who are not in the know. When he was head of the country’s national intelligence, he scared President Bush with visions of e-doom, prompting the president to sign a comprehensive secret order that unleashed tens of billions of dollars into the military’s black budget so they could start making firewalls and building malware into military equipment. Read More ...
The Peyote Way Church of God - believe that the Holy Sacrament Peyote can lead an individual toward a more spiritual life
The Peyote Way Church of God is a non-sectarian, multicultural, experiential, Peyotist organization located in southeastern Arizona, in the remote Aravaipa wilderness. It is not affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Native American Church, or any other religious organizations, though we do accept people from all faiths. Church membership is open to all races. We encourage individuals to create their own rituals as they become acquainted with the great mystery. We believe that the Holy Sacrament Peyote, when taken according to our sacramental procedure and combined with a holistic lifestyle (see Word of Wisdom), can lead an individual toward a more spiritual life. Peyote is currently listed as a controlled substance and its religious use is protected by Federal law only for Native American members of the Native American Church. Read More ...
All world secret underground bases build for space travelers
The following material comes from people who know the Dulce (underground) base exists. They are people who worked in the labs; abductees taken to the base; people who assisted in the construction; intelligence personal (NSA,CIA,FBI ... ect.) and UFO / inner-earth researchers. This information is meant for those who are seriously interested in the dulce base. for your own protection be advised to “use caution” while investigating this complex.Does a strange world exist beneath our feet? Strange legends have persisted for centuries about the mysterious cavern world and the equally strange beings who inhabit it.  More UFOlogists have considered the possibility that UFOs may be emanating from subterranean bases, that UFO aliens have constructed these bases to carry out various missions involving Earth or humans. Read More ...
Dreamachine - stroboscopic flicker device enter you to a hypnagogic state - try it right here in your browser
The dreamachine (or dream machine) is a stroboscopic  flicker device that produces visual stimuli. Artist Brion Gysin and William Burroughs's "systems adviser" Ian Sommerville created the dreamachine after reading William Grey Walter's book, The Living Brain. In its original form, a dreamachine is made from a cylinder with slits cut in the sides. The cylinder is placed on a record turntable and rotated at 78 or 45 revolutions per minute. A light bulb is suspended in the center of the cylinder and the rotation speed allows the light to come out from the holes at a constant frequency of between 8 and 13 pulses per second. This frequency range corresponds to alpha waves, electrical oscillations  normally present in the human brain while relaxing. Read More ...
Japan’s Annual Penis Festival – Celebrates Fertility
KOMAKI, Japan — It's springtime in Japan and that means one thing. Actually, two things. Penis festivals and vagina festivals. It may sound like a sophomoric gag. But these are folk rites going back at least 1,500 years, into Japan's agricultural past. They're held to ensure a good harvest and promote baby-making. Maybe they should hold more such festivals. Japan has one of the world's lowest birthrates (1.37 children per woman), which experts blame on stagnant incomes and changing gender relations. Read More ...
Rarest Fishes in the World
Aquatic Lifeforms You Never Caught While Fishing:
Black-lip Rattail ............ These sorts of rattails feed in the muddy seafloor by gliding along head down and tail up, powered by gentle undulations of a long fin under the tail. The triangular head has sensory cells underneath that help detect animals buried in the mud or sand. The common name comes from the black edges around the mouth. Read More ...
Island of Ghosts: Hashima Island - Japan’s rotting metropolis
Hashima, an island located in Nagasaki Bay, is better known as Warship Island (Gunkanshima). The island was inhabited until the end of the 19th century, when it was discovered that the ground below it held tons of coal. The island soon became a center of a major mining complex owned by Mitsubishi Corporation. As the complex expanded, rock brought out of the shafts was used to artificially expand the island. Seawalls created in this expansion turned Hashima into the monstrous looking Gunkanshima; its artificial appearance makes it looks more like a battleship than an island. Read More ...
Japan Monster mummies - the preserved remains of demons, mermaids, kappa, tengu, raijū, and human monks
These fairly freaky historical remains can be found lurking in dark corners of Buddhist temples and museums across Japan. Known as monster mummies, they are, in fact, the preserved remains of demons, mermaids, kappa, tengu and raijū. Or should I say things that people thought were demons, mermaids, kappa, tengu and raijū. They are not pretty, but they are really fascinating. Read More ...

Recent

The Marijuana Conspiracy - The Real Reason Hemp is Illegal
MARIJUANA is DANGEROUS. Pot is NOT harmful to the human body or mind. Marijuana does NOT pose a threat to the general public. Marijuana is very much a danger to the oil companies, alcohol, tobacco industries and a large number of chemical corporations. Various big businesses, with plenty of dollars and influence, have suppressed the truth from the people. The truth is if marijuana was utilized for its vast array of commercial products, it would create an industrial atomic bomb! Entrepreneurs have not been educated on the product potential of pot. The super rich have conspired to spread misinformation about an extremely versatile plant that, if used properly, would ruin their companies. Read More ...
Freegan - strategies for sustainable living beyond capitalism
Freegans are people who employ alternative strategies for living based on limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources. Freegans embrace community, generosity, social concern, freedom, cooperation, and sharing in opposition to a society based on materialism, moral apathy, competition, conformity, and greed. After years of trying to boycott products from unethical corporations responsible for human rights violations, environmental destruction, and animal abuse, many of us found that no matter what we bought we ended up supporting something deplorable. We came to realize that the problem isn’t just a few bad corporations but the entire system itself. Read More ...
The woman power era is coming - The End of Men!?
Earlier this year, women became the majority of the workforce for the first time in U.S. history. Most managers are now women too. And for every two men who get a college degree this year, three women will do the same. For years, women’s progress has been cast as a struggle for equality. But what if equality isn’t the end point? What if modern, postindustrial society is simply better suited to women? A report on the unprecedented role reversal now under way— and its vast cultural consequences Read More ...
Libya Truth Tour
Cynthia McKinney ..... Thanks to all who have come out and participated in the Truth Tour.  I have almost come to its end.  Last night in Detroit, several of the women were moved to tears as I explained the situation in Libya right now as I know it to be. Every venue has had every seat occupied or was filled to capacity with standing room only.  Detroit's young singer and band, Sister Ziyah and Black Rain were phenomenal and their music set the tone for the event:  first song, Kickstart the Revolution; second song, Good Morning, America; third song, Today, I'm a Better Me. Read More ...
Victorian England popular&legal drugs (hashish, opium, absinthe and Chloral)
Victorian England, spanning roughly the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901), is characterized in popular understanding as a time of personal and family values. The codification of the notion of values developed into specific and detailed ideas about social and cultural propriety and restraint. The very term "Victorian" has come to be used in our own time by cultural conservatives who look to the reign of Victoria as a touchstone for their own desires about social order. Prudishness, excessive formality, and repression, it is popularly assumed, characterized Victorian culture. Read More ...
Why Liberals and Atheists Are More Intelligent
Not so long ago experts predicted the imminent collapse of religion in modern western culture. Religion – often synonymous in these discussions with superstition, magic, and delusion – would at last give way to the autonomy of human reason and the power of the experimental method of natural investigation. But something happened on the way to religion’s funeral. People kept on believing. Recent neuroscientific and evolutionary research has suggested that either many of the hallmarks of religion are, or are byproducts of, adaptations that helped our earliest ancestors survive. Read More ...
Punk explosion against cenzorship in Indonesia + film -punk in love indonesia
It's after midnight in Jakarta and, below a highway overpass, a party is just getting started. Students and the unemployed are listening to well-worn cassette tapes, swigging from bottles filled with a cocktail of beer and local wine and loitering in front of Movement Records — a punk-music shop that has become a nexus for local youths. It is also home to Onie, one of Jakarta's self-proclaimed original street punks, who both works and sleeps on the premises. "It is very quiet at night," Onie says. "The shops are closed, so society is O.K. with us being here. My friends can come at night and argue, laugh and fight for as long as they want." Read More ...
Gobekli Tepe: The World’s First Temple
A temple complex in Turkey that predates even the pyramids is rewriting the story of human evolution. They call it potbelly hill, after the soft, round contour of this final lookout in southeastern Turkey. To the north are forested mountains. East of the hill lies the biblical plain of Harran, and to the south is the Syrian border, visible 20 miles away, pointing toward the ancient lands of Mesopotamia and the Fertile Crescent, the region that gave rise to human civilization. And under our feet, according to archeologist Klaus Schmidt, are the stones that mark the spot—the exact spot—where humans began that ascent. Read More ...

Science

The World's First Commercial Brain-Computer Interface + history of BCI
A brain–computer interface (BCI), sometimes called a direct neural interface or a brain–machine interface, is a direct communication pathway between a brain and an external device. BCIs are often aimed at assisting, augmenting or repairing human cognitive or sensory-motor functions. Research on BCIs began in the 1970s at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) under a grant from the National Science Foundation, followed by a contract from DARPA. The papers published after this research also mark the first appearance of the expression brain–computer interface in scientific literature. Read More ...
Meet ALICE - new CERNs giant detector
The giant ALICE detector is already underway at CERN, and researchers are scrambling to add an electromagnetic calorimeter to capture jet-quenching, the newest way to look inside the quark-gluon plasma — the hot, dense state of matter that filled the earliest universe, which the Large Hadron Collider will soon recreate by slamming lead nuclei into one another.  CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is known mainly as the accelerator that will soon begin searching for the Higgs particle, and other new physics, in proton collisions at unprecedented energies — up to 14 TeV (14 trillion electron volts) at the center of mass — and with unprecedented beam intensities. But the same machine will also collide massive nuclei, specifically lead ions, to energies never achieved before in the laboratory. Read More ...
Vadim Chernobrov & Russian secrets experiments with time machines
A disturbing story in the March, 2005. 1 issue of Pravda suggests that the U. S. Government is working on the discovery of a mysterious point over the South Pole that may be a passageway backward in time. According to the article, some American and British scientists working in Antarctica on January 27, 1995, noticed a spinning gray fog in the sky over the pole. U. S. physicist Mariann McLein said at first they believed it to be some kind of sandstorm. But after a while they noticed that the fog did not change its form and did not move so they decided to investigate. Read More ...
The Secrets of Coral Castle and pyramids EXPLAINED by Leedskalnin's Magnetic Current theory
Coral Castle doesn't look much like a castle, but that hasn't discouraged generations of tourists from wanting to see it. That's because it was built by one man, Ed Leedskalnin, a Latvian immigrant who single-handedly and mysteriously excavated, carved, and erected over 2.2 million pounds of coral rock to build this place, even though he stood only five feet tall and weighed a mere 100 pounds. Ed was as secretive as he was misguided. He never told anyone how he carved and set into place the walls, gates, monoliths, and moon crescents that make up much of his Castle. Some of these blocks weigh as much as 30 tons. Ed often worked at night, by lantern light, so that no one could see him. He used only tools that he fashioned himself from wrecks in an auto junkyard. Read More ...
Microbial communities in fluid inclusions and long-term survival in halite + The 11th Hour - documentary
Fluid inclusions in modern and ancient buried halite from Death Valley and Saline Valley, California, USA, contain an ecosystem of “salt-loving” (halophilic) prokaryotes and eukaryotes, some of which are alive. Prokaryotes may survive inside fluid inclusions for tens of thousands of years using carbon and other metabolites supplied by the trapped microbial community, most notably the single-celled alga Dunaliella, an important primary producer in hypersaline systems. Deeper understanding of the long-term survival of prokaryotes in fluid inclusions will complement studies that further explore microbial life on Earth and elsewhere in the solar system, where materials that potentially harbor microorganisms are millions and even billions of years old. Read More ...
How Norbert Wiener Invents Cybernetics + his book " God and Golem, Inc.........."
Norbert Wiener invented the field of cybernetics, inspiring a generation of scientists to think of computer technology as a means to extend human capabilities. Norbert Wiener was born on November 26, 1894, and received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from Harvard University at the age of 18 for a thesis on mathematical logic ( see below "The Logic of Boolean Algebra").  After working as a journalist, university teacher, engineer, and writer, Wiener he was hired by MIT in 1919, coincidentally the same year as Vannevar Bush. In 1933, Wiener won the Bôcher Prize for his brilliant work on Tauberian theorems and generalized harmonic analysis. Read More ...
The T2K Experiment - From Tokai To Kamioka - Where is the anti-matter?
From the beginning of 2010, the T2K experiment will fire a beam of muon-neutrinos from Tokai on Japan's east coast, 300km accross the country to a detector at Kamioka. It hopes to investigate the phenomenon of "neutrino oscillations" by looking for "muon neutrinos" oscillating into "electron neutrinos".  A million pound detector has been built at the University of Warwick as part of a vital experiment to investigate fundamental particles - neutrinos. Read More ...
Careerism and Psychopathy in the US Military leadership
The internal workings of the US military had little significance to the overall state of the nation, except during wars – until the post-WWII era.   With the military dominating our foreign policy and being one of the most trusted institution, the character of our senior generals may become a major factor shaping our future.  Hence the importance of this chapter by GI Wilson from The Pentagon Labyrinth: Ten Short Essays to Help You Through It, edited by Winslow T. Wheeler and published by the Center for Defense Information and the World Security Institute.  You can see a summary and download a free copy of this important book at the Project for Government Oversight (POGO). Read More ...

Space

UFO's of Nazi Germany
Viktor Schauberger & UFO's of Nazi Germany
It was nearly the end of WWII. At that same time, scientist Viktor Schauberger worked on a secret project. Johannes Kepler, whose ideas Schauberger followed, had knowledge of the secret teachings of Pythagoras that had been adopted and kept secret. It was the knowledge of Implosion (in this case the utilization of the potential of the inner worlds in the outer world). Hitler knew - as did the Thule and Vril people - that the divine principle was always constructive. A technology however that is based on explosion and therefore is destructive runs against the divine principle. Thus they wanted to create a technology based on Implosion. Read More ...
It Takes a Giant Cosmos to Create Life and Mind + new Supernova Discovered to be the 'Creation-Machines' of the Cosmos
Excerpt from 'The Intelligent Universe', James Gardner ................... There is a time machine clearly visible right outside your front door. It’s easy to see—in fact, it’s impossible to overlook—although its awesome powers are generally ignored by all but a discerning few.  The unearthly beauty, the ineffable grandeur, and the ingenuity of construction of this time machine are humbling to every human being who makes an effort to probe into the enigma of its origin and the mystery of its ultimate destiny. The time machine of which I speak is emphatically not of human origin. Indeed, a few venturesome scientists are beginning to entertain a truly incredible possibility: that this device is an artifact bequeathed to us by a supremely evolved intelligence that existed long, long ago and far, far away. All knowledgeable observers agree that the scope of its stupendous powers and the sheer delicacy of its miniscule moving parts seem nothing short of miraculous. Read More ...
The Size Of Our World or How Insignificant the Earth Really Is in the Universe
Compared to you and me, the Earth is really big. But compared to Jupiter and the Sun, the Earth is pretty tiny. There are many ways we can measure the size of the Earth. Let's look at how big the Earth is, and then compare it to other objects in the Solar System. The diameter of the Earth is 12,742 km. In other words, if you dug a hole down into the Earth, passed through the center of the Earth, and came out the other side, you would have dug a hole 12,742 km deep (on average). That's about 4 times longer than the diameter of the Moon. Read More ...
Strange Images from Space - Photos&videos of the Bizarre in Our Universe
Some weird and unusual objects are floating around in the cosmos. Space is always serving up something new, unusual, and unexpected. Here are images and explanations of obejcts that have amazed and delighted astronomers. Read More ...
Project Icarus: Gas Mining on Uranus
Project Icarus is a 21st century theoretical study of a mission to another star. Icarus aims to build on the work of the celebrated Daedalus project. Between the period 1973-1978 members of the BIS undertook a theoretical study of a flyby mission to Barnard's star 5.9 light years away. This was Project Daedalus and remains one of the most complete studies of an interstellar probe to date. The 54,000 ton two-stage vehicle was powered by inertial confinement fusion using electron beams to compress the D/He3 fusion capsules to ignition. It would obtain an eventual cruise velocity of 36,000km/s or 12% of light speed from over 700kN of thrust, burning at a specific impulse of 1 million seconds, reaching its destination in approximately 50 years. Read More ...
Astronomers had found evidence of something that occurred before the (conventional) Big Bang
Our cosmos was "bruised" in collisions with other universes. Now astronomers have found the first evidence of these impacts in the cosmic microwave background. There's something exciting afoot in the world of cosmology. Last month, Roger Penrose at the University of Oxford and Vahe Gurzadyan at Yerevan State University in Armenia announced that they had found patterns of concentric circles in the cosmic microwave background, the echo of the Big Bang. Read More ...
Mysterious Radio Waves from Unknown Object in M82 Galaxy
There is something strange is lurking in the galactic neighborhood. An unknown object in galaxy M82 12 million light-years away has started sending out radio waves, and the emission does not look like anything seen anywhere in the universe before except perhaps by Ford Prefect. M82 is starburst galaxy five times as bright as the Milky Way and one hundred times as bright as our galaxy's center. "We don't know what it is," says co-discoverer Tom Muxlow of Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics near Macclesfield, UK. But its apparent sideways velocity is four times the speed of light. This "superluminal" motion occurs usually in high-speed jets of material bursting out by black holes. Read More ...
Nibiru - great arrival of Planet X  + Timeline of 2012. cataclysm
“A secret document prepared for Prime Minister Putin by Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is claiming that President Medvedev confirmed in his extended meeting with Pope Benedict XVI in February 2011 that the new planet named Tyche (pronounced ty-kee) by NASA will be appearing in the Earth’s night sky by 2012. Though the existence of this planet had long been known to the ancients, it has only been in the past year that Western scientists have begun informing their citizens about this unprecedented event soon to occur, but who are, also, still failing to tell how catastrophic its appearance will be. Tyche was the name coined for this ancient celestial body by the two astrophysicists proposing it for “planet” status, Daniel Whitmire and John Matese from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Read More ...

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IBMs Cognitive Computing Chips - designed to emulate the brain’s abilities for perception, action and cognition

Computing has been essentially the same for over sixty years. An input signal is processed by a device, a switch, an amplifier, a logic gate etc, and then passed onto another device where it is processed again eventually producing some kind of output which could be a flashing light or the information you are reading now. Of course things have moved on from the early days where replacing burned out vacuum tubes was a major task, but despite advances in power and speed driven by better control over device and material parameters, the basic Von Neumann architecture has remained essentially the same. Of course nature has invented far better ways of doing things, the human brain stands at the pinnacle of evolutionary information architecture engineering, and DNA stores information at a higher density and with greater persistence than anything ever invented – we can see bits of our genetic code reaching back almost to the first life, whereas I bet the collection of DVDs in my living room will be as unreadable as video tapes or floppy disks within ten years.



So the development of technology has to take two tracks. While huge effort goes into making things better, faster, cheaper (or at least maintaining decent margins), and in the semiconductor industry if you don’t keep up with your rivals you are finished pretty quickly, there is always the search for new and disruptive paradigms. But that is tough when you are running on the hamster wheel just trying to maintain position, and as many companies found with their nanotechnology efforts, anything unrelated to shipping silicon out of the door tends to be frowned on by management and shareholders more concerned with the quarterly numbers.

IBMs announcement of the first working cognitive computing chips covered nicely by Dean Takahashi at Venturebeat  is one of those potentially disruptive technologies, but don’t expect the next iPad to be powered  by one. While nanotechnologies have given us the tools to at least partially understand how nature works, replicating it is a different matter. It is a very different architecture, and one where connections are far more important than raw speed. But every advance in materials science, nanotechnology, and neuroscience takes us a step closer to developing something that allows us to get off the treadmill of Moore’s Law.
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Singularians may be disappointed to find that they won’t be able to download their brain onto a chip anytime in the near future. What this work shows us is that we can replicate some of the functions of the brain, the ones that we understand, but there are many others that we cannot. Moving to organic materials where gigahertz speeds are unobtainable but fabrication is cheap may move things forward, helping to realise the long cherished idea of distributed intelligence or the Internet of Things.

And getting off the treadmill is the key to innovation. It’s something that governments and large corporations just don’t get. Companies are often too focused on improving shipping products to look at anything else, and governments fundamentally misunderstand how innovation works,which ties them to the old linear Von Neumann architecture. As a result innovation often comes from an unexpected source, as many mobile phone found to their cost, and five years on many are still scrambling to replicate the iPhone.
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Part of IBM’s success has been due to the excursions into nanotech, cognition and many other seemingly unrelated areas which over time have enabled new technologies while generating substantial licensing revenues. Yes blue sky research is a luxury, but if your nose is too close to the grindstone how many opportunities will you miss?
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The von Neumann Architecture of Computer Systems

Any discussion of computer architectures, of how computers and computer systems are organized, designed, and implemented, inevitably makes reference to the "von Neumann architecture" as a basis for comparison. And of course this is so, since virtually every electronic computer ever built has been rooted in this architecture. The name applied to it comes from John von Neumann, who as author of two papers in 1945 [Goldstine and von Neumann 1963, von Neumann 1981] and coauthor of a third paper in 1946 [Burks, et al. 1963] was the first to spell out the requirements for a general purpose electronic computer. The 1946 paper, written with Arthur W. Burks and Hermann H. Goldstine, was titled "Preliminary Discussion of the Logical Design of an Electronic Computing Instrument," and the ideas in it were to have a profound impact on the subsequent development of such machines.

Von Neumann's design led eventually to the construction of the EDVAC computer in 1952. However, the first computer of this type to be actually constructed and operated was the Manchester Mark I, designed and built at Manchester University in England [Siewiorek, et al. 1982]. It ran its first program in 1948, executing it out of its 96 word memory. It executed an instruction in 1.2 milliseconds, which must have seemed phenomenal at the time. Using today's popular "MIPS" terminology (millions of instructions per second), it would be rated at .00083 MIPS. By contrast, some current supercomputers are rated at in excess of 1000 MIPS. And yet, these computers, such as the Cray systems and the Control Data Cyber 200 models, are still tied to the von Neumann architecture to a large extent.

Over the years, a number of computers have been claimed to be "non-von Neumann," and many have been at least partially so. More and more emphasis is being put on the necessity for breaking away from this traditional architecture in order to achieve more usable and more productive systems. The expectations for the fifth generation systems seem to require that substantially new architectures be evolved, and that both hardware and software be freed from the limitations of the von Neumann architecture [Sharp 1985].
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We all know what the von Neumann architecture is, of course. At least we have strong intuitive feelings about it because this is what we have always used. This is "the way computers work." But to really comprehend what choices there are for computer designers, to appreciate what new choices must be found, it is necessary to have a more definitive understanding of what the von Neumann architecture is and is not and what its implications are.

Von Neumann begins his "Preliminary Discussion" with a broad description of the general-purpose computing machine containing four main "organs." These are identified as relating to arithmetic, memory, control, and connection with the human operator. In other words, the arithmetic logic unit, the control unit, the memory, and the input-output devices that we see in the classical model of what a computer "looks like."

To von Neumann, the key to building a general purpose device was in its ability to store not only its data and the intermediate results of computation, but also to store the instructions, or orders, that brought about the computation. In a special purpose machine the computational procedure could be part of the hardware. In a general purpose one the instructions must be as changeable as the numbers they acted upon. Therefore, why not encode the instructions into numeric form and store instructions and data in the same memory? This frequently is viewed as the principal contribution provided by von Neumann's insight into the nature of what a computer should be.

He then defined the control organ as that which would automatically execute the coded instructions stored in memory. Interestingly he says that the orders and data can reside in the same memory "if the machine can in some fashion distinguish a number from an order" [Burks, et al., p. 35].
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And yet, there is no distinction between the two in memory. The control counter (what we now usually call the program counter) contains the address of the next instruction, and that word is fetched to be executed. Whatever the control unit "believes" to be an order or to be data is treated as such. One ramification of this is that the instructions can operate upon other instructions, producing a self-modifying program. This has not been considered good form for many years, because of the implications for program debugging and the desire for reentrant code in some situations. It is possible that new developments in artificial intelligence may bring fresh attention to the possibilites afforded by this characteristic [Bishop 1986].

Von Neumann devoted most of his "Preliminary Discussion" to the design of the arithmetic unit. The details of this are the least interesting part of the paper from the standpoint of the organization of his computer, and its influence on future developments. The capabilities of the arithmetic unit were limited to the performance of some arbitrary subset of the possible arithmetic operations. He observes that "the inner economy of the arithmetic unit is determined by a compromise between the desire for speed of operation...and the desire for simplicity, or cheapness, of the machine" [Burks, et al., p. 36]. What is interesting, and important, is that this issue continued to dominate design decisions for many years. It is less true now that hardware costs have become a substantially less critical concern.

The concepts put forth by von Neumann were, for their time, quite remarkable--so much so that they provided the foundations for all of the early computers developed, and for the most part are still with us today. Why then do we require something different? What is it about this architecture that we find constraining and counterproductive? Why must there be new, different, "non-von Neumann" machines?
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Myers [1982] defines four properties that characterize the von Neumann architecture, all of which he feels are antithetical to today's needs. One of these was discussed above, that is the fact that instructions and data are distinguished only implicitly through usage. As he points out, the higher level languages currently used for programming make a clear distinction between the instructions and the data and have no provision for executing data or using instructions as data.

A second property is that the memory is a single memory, sequentially addressed. A third, which is really a consequence of the previous property, is that the memory is one-dimensional. Again, these are in conflict with our programming languages. Most of the resulting program, therefore, is generated to provide for the mapping of multidimensional data onto the one dimensioned memory and to contend with the placement of all of the data into the same memory.

Finally, the fourth property is that the meaning of the data is not stored with it. In other words, it is not possible to tell by looking at a set of bits whether that set of bits represents an integer, a floating point number or a character string. In a higher level language, we associate such a meaning with the data, and expect a generic operation to take on a meaning determined by the meaning of its operands.

In characterizing the difficulties presented by these four properties, their inconsistencies with higher level languages are emphasized. And yet, these higher level languages were, for the most part, designed to be utilized for the purpose of programming the existing von Neumann style computers. In a very real sense, the entire realm of software has been developed under the umbrella of this architecture and may be aptly referred to as von Neumann software. Thus, the hardware and software have served to perpetuate each other according to the underlying von Neumann model.
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One facet of this is the fundamental view of memory as a "word at a time" kind of device. A word is transferred from memory to the CPU or from the CPU to memory. All of the data, the names (locations) of the data, the operations to be performed on the data, must travel between memory and CPU a word at a time. Backus [1978] calls this the "von Neumann bottleneck." As he points out, this bottleneck is not only a physical limitation, but has served also as an "intellectual bottleneck" in limiting the way we think about computation and how to program it.

Obviously, the computers we use today are not simply larger, faster EDVACs. Numerous improvements have been made through the introduction of, for example: index registers and general purpose registers; floating point data representation; indirect addressing; hardware interrupts to redirect program execution upon detection of certain events; input and output in parallel with CPU execution; virtual memory; and the use of multiple processors [Myers 1982]. It is significant that each of these made some improvement over the original model, some of them quite significant improvements, but none fundamentally changed the architecture. In other words, the four properties discussed above still hold, and the von Neumann bottleneck still exists with or without these improvements. It is also significant to note that all of these improvements were implemented before 1960!

Some other improvements can be noted that really have no effect on the architecture at all. For example, cache memory provides a way of making block transfers (still a word at a time) into a smaller, faster memory device. It is an improvement in the implementation, not in the architecture. A similar view holds for the use of multiple memory modules, with parallel transfers from more than one module. All this does is effectively increase the word length, while still functioning in a word at a time mode [Stone 1987]. Again, many such improvements were originally implemented during the 1950s and 1960s.

So what would characterize a "non-von Neumann" machine? Some examples will illustrate.

One is what Myers calls "self-identifying data," or what McKeeman [1967] calls "typed storage." In the von Neumann computer, the instructions themselves must determine whether a set of bits is operated upon as an integer, real, character, or other data type. With typed storage, each operand carries with it in memory some bits to identify its type. Then the computer needs only one ADD operation, for example, (which is all we see in a higher level language), and the hardware determines whether to perform an integer add, floating point add, double precision, complex, or whatever it might be. More expensive hardware, to be sure, but greatly simplified (and shorter) programs. McKeeman first proposed such "language directed" design in 1961. Some computers have taken steps in this direction of high-level language architecture, becoming "slightly" non-von Neumann.
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Another approach aims at avoiding the von Neumann bottleneck by the use of programs that operate on structures or conceptual units rather than on words. Functions are defined without naming any data, then these functions are combined to produce a program. Such a functional approach began with LISP (1961), but had to be forced into a conventional hardware-software environment. New functional programming architectures may be developed from the ground up [Backus 1978, Eisenbach 1987].

A third proposal aims at replacing the notion of defining computation in terms of a sequence of discrete operations [Sharp 1985]. This model, deeply rooted in the von Neumann tradition, sees a program in terms of an orderly execution of instructions as set forth by the program. The programmer defines the order in which operations will take place, and the program counter follows this order as the control executes the instructions. This "control flow" approach would be replaced by a "data flow" model in which the operations are executed in an order resulting only from the interdependencies of the data. This is a newer idea, dating only from the early 1970s.

Our appetite for computing power is insatiable. Standing on the threshold of the fifth generation, we clearly expect more from future computers than just more speed. We have come this far on the basis of enhancements to the existing architectures and their implementation. The use of smaller, cheaper, and faster components is coupled with greater and greater parallelism. The most difficult task connected with adopting new architectures is that it is hard to think about them using our von Neumann oriented minds.
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Two final points should be made. The first is a reiteration of what was said earlier: that it is no less to von Neumann's credit that we now find his design inadequate. The persistence of this architecture may be taken as ample testimony to that. Second, it is no less to von Neumann's credit that such credit must fairly be shared with some other pioneers. In particular, Arthur Burks, J. Presper Eckert, Hermann Goldstine, and John Mauchly, along with numerous others, contributed to the creation of the first general purpose, stored program, electronic digital computer. Von Neumann received the principal credit because he took the time to document the ideas, to elaborate the concepts, to instruct the rest of the world about them. He also received credit because the substance of his reputation gave the greater weight to his words. That seems fair enough.


IBM Unveils Cognitive Computing Chips

ARMONK, N.Y., - 18 Aug 2011: Today, IBM (NYSE: IBM) researchers unveiled a new generation of experimental computer chips designed to emulate the brain’s abilities for perception, action and cognition. The technology could yield many orders of magnitude less power consumption and space than used in today’s computers.

In a sharp departure from traditional concepts in designing and building computers, IBM’s first neurosynaptic computing chips recreate the phenomena between spiking neurons and synapses in biological systems, such as the brain, through advanced algorithms and silicon circuitry. Its first two prototype chips have already been fabricated and are currently undergoing testing.

Called cognitive computers, systems built with these chips won’t be programmed the same way traditional computers are today. Rather, cognitive computers are expected to learn through experiences, find correlations, create hypotheses, and remember – and learn from – the outcomes, mimicking the brains structural and synaptic plasticity.

To do this, IBM is combining principles from nanoscience, neuroscience and supercomputing as part of a multi-year cognitive computing initiative. The company and its university collaborators also announced they have been awarded approximately $21 million in new funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for Phase 2 of the Systems of Neuromorphic Adaptive Plastic Scalable Electronics (SyNAPSE) project.

The goal of SyNAPSE is to create a system that not only analyzes complex information from multiple sensory modalities at once, but also dynamically rewires itself as it interacts with its environment – all while rivaling the brain’s compact size and low power usage. The IBM team has already successfully completed Phases 0 and 1.

“This is a major initiative to move beyond the von Neumann paradigm that has been ruling computer architecture for more than half a century,” said Dharmendra Modha, project leader for IBM Research. “Future applications of computing will increasingly demand functionality that is not efficiently delivered by the traditional architecture. These chips are another significant step in the evolution of computers from calculators to learning systems, signaling the beginning of a new generation of computers and their applications in business, science and government.”

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Neurosynaptic Chips

While they contain no biological elements, IBM’s first cognitive computing prototype chips use digital silicon circuits inspired by neurobiology to make up what is referred to as a “neurosynaptic core” with integrated memory (replicated synapses), computation (replicated neurons) and communication (replicated axons).

IBM has two working prototype designs. Both cores were fabricated in 45 nm SOI-CMOS and contain 256 neurons. One core contains 262,144 programmable synapses and the other contains 65,536 learning synapses. The IBM team has successfully demonstrated simple applications like navigation, machine vision, pattern recognition, associative memory and classification.

IBM’s overarching cognitive computing architecture is an on-chip network of light-weight cores, creating a single integrated system of hardware and software. This architecture represents a critical shift away from traditional von Neumann computing to a potentially more power-efficient architecture that has no set programming, integrates memory with processor, and mimics the brain’s event-driven, distributed and parallel processing.

IBM’s long-term goal is to build a chip system with ten billion neurons and hundred trillion synapses, while consuming merely one kilowatt of power and occupying less than two liters of volume.

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Why Cognitive Computing

Future chips will be able to ingest information from complex, real-world environments through multiple sensory modes and act through multiple motor modes in a coordinated, context-dependent manner.

For example, a cognitive computing system monitoring the world's water supply could contain a network of sensors and actuators that constantly record and report metrics such as temperature, pressure, wave height, acoustics and ocean tide, and issue tsunami warnings based on its decision making. Similarly, a grocer stocking shelves could use an instrumented glove that monitors sights, smells, texture and temperature to flag bad or contaminated produce. Making sense of real-time input flowing at an ever-dizzying rate would be a Herculean task for today’s computers, but would be natural for a brain-inspired system.  

“Imagine traffic lights that can integrate sights, sounds and smells and flag unsafe intersections before disaster happens or imagine cognitive co-processors that turn servers, laptops, tablets, and phones into machines that can interact better with their environments,” said Dr. Modha.

For Phase 2 of SyNAPSE, IBM has assembled a world-class multi-dimensional team of researchers and collaborators to achieve these ambitious goals. The team includes Columbia University; Cornell University; University of California, Merced; and University of Wisconsin, Madison.

IBM has a rich history in the area of artificial intelligence research going all the way back to 1956 when IBM performed the world's first large-scale (512 neuron) cortical simulation. Most recently, IBM Research scientists created Watson, an analytical computing system that specializes in understanding natural human language and provides specific answers to complex questions at rapid speeds. Watson represents a tremendous breakthrough in computers understanding natural language, “real language” that is not specially designed or encoded just for computers, but language that humans use to naturally capture and communicate knowledge.

IBM’s cognitive computing chips were built at its highly advanced chip-making facility in Fishkill, N.Y. and are currently being tested at its research labs in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. and San Jose, Calif.

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Visions of the Future: The Intelligence Revolution - documentary

Visions of the Future: The Intelligence Revolution. 1st part of 3 part miniseries on the BBC hosted by Michio Kaku. In this new three-part series, leading theoretical physicist and futurist Dr Michio Kaku explores the cutting edge science of today, tomorrow, and beyond. He argues that humankind is at a turning point in history. In this century, we are going to make the historic transition from the 'Age of Discovery' to the 'Age of Mastery', a period in which we will move from being passive observers of nature to its active choreographers. This will give us not only unparalleled possibilities but also great responsibilities.
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source
http://cientifica.eu
http://www.csupomona.edu
http://www-03.ibm.com
 


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