China Opens Brain-Like Intelligence Lab to Boost AI Development and Create New Industries



(Yicai Global) May 15 -- China has opened a ‘brain-like intelligence’ laboratory to tackle artificial intelligence problems through human brain simulation, and drive the development of emerging businesses such as brain-like chips and robots, state-run news agency Xinhua reported yesterday.

The lab, in the eastern city of Hefei, will work on three major barriers faced by brain-like intelligence, said Wu Feng, the lab’s director and executive president at the University of Science and Technology of China’s (USTC) School of Information Studies. These are a lack of understanding of how the brain works, deficiencies in brain-like computation models and algorithms and computation framework and capacity constraints.

“The human brain is highly intelligent and has evolved over hundreds of millions of years,” the reported quoted Feng as saying, “Going forward, artificial intelligence must learn from the human brain.”

Technology industrialization is another of the lab’s priorities, he added. It will develop brain-inspired core chips and operating systems, and brain-like robots equipped with an artificial neural network to improve brain video monitoring, voice interaction and autonomous driving, with an ultimate aim of creating major emerging industries worth billions of yuan.

“Brain-like intelligence offers an important means way of developing AI,” said Wang Lijun, chairman of the lab’s council and dean of the USTC. “It reveals the information processing mechanism of the human brain so will help to improve intelligent technology systems and stimulate growth of the AI industry.”

China lags behind in certain areas of artificial intelligence research, such as brain cognition and brain-like information processing capacity. The National Development and Reform Commission approved the laboratory, which was proposed by the USTC, in January. The university will take lead in the development of brain-like intelligence technology and research its applications in collaboration with Fudan University, the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Shenyang Institute of Automation and Institute of Microelectronics, and Baidu Inc. [NASDAQ:BIDU]. The lab is dedicated to supporting research, development and engineering of brain-like cognition and neural computing, brain-like chips and systems and brain-inspired robotics.

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