Monday, May 11, 2009

DARPA's Physical Intelligence Program

Physical intelligence (PI)


Colossus - The Forbin Project takes place in the 50s during the height of the cold war. Dr. Charles Forbin, a genius scientist who has lost trust in humanity’s ability to logically address emotional issues, has developed a very special computer to perform the Strategic Air Command and Control functions for the military. This computer, code named Colossus, is developed based on incredible advances in Artificial Intelligence, and has a logical process for determining when to launch the ICBMs. With much fanfare, the President of the US “turns on” Colossus to take over responsibility for the US nuclear armament. [from Cyberpunk Review]

Does your area of research include statistical physics, non-equilibrium thermodynamics, dissipative systems, group theory, collective behavior, complexity theory, consciousness theory, non-linear dynamical systems, complex adaptive systems, systems analysis, multi-scale modeling, control systems, information theory, computation theory, topology, electronics, evolutionary computation, cellular automata, artificial life, origin of life, microbiology, evolutionary biology, evolutionary chemistry, neuropsychology, neurophysiology, brain modeling, organizational behavior, operations research and others? Are you interested in understanding intelligence as a physical phenomenon and creating the first demonstration of the principle in electronic and chemical systems? Then you might consider attending one of the two PI Proposers' Day Workshops:
The workshop goals are to: (a) introduce the research community (industry, academia, and Government) to the PI program vision and goals; (b) explain the mechanics of a DARPA program and the milestones and metrics of this particular effort; and (c) promote teaming arrangements among organizations having relevant expertise, facilities, and capabilities to execute an interdisciplinary research program responsive to the PI program goals. The workshops will include overview presentations by Government personnel and poster sessions to facilitate interaction and team building among the session participants.
The workshops will be held June 9, 2009, 7:00am-5:00pm in Reston, VA and June 11, 2009, 7:00am-5:00pm in San Jose, CA. See this link for more information.

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7 Comments:

At May 11, 2009 8:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is anyone familiar with BICA (Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures)? That was another DARPA program (actually, it never took off beyond the pre-program stage. luckily) that totally failed, very recently. They invited all the biggies (which means, big egos) in a big Survivor-style series of meetings. More time was spent in trying to undermine the competition than in actually thinking and discussing the theoretical challenges facing the program. In the end, it became clear even to the higher-ups that the idea was currently unfeasible.

 
At May 11, 2009 10:56 AM, Blogger The Neurocritic said...

I hadn't heard of the BICA Program, but now I'm curious:

Mission:
The goal of the BICA program was to develop integrated psychologically-based and neurobiology-based cognitive architectures that can simulate human cognition in a variety of situations.

 
At May 11, 2009 11:07 AM, Blogger The Neurocritic said...

From Wikipedia:
The second phase (Implementation) of BICA was set to begin in the spring of 2007, and would have involved the actual construction of new intelligent agents that live and behave in a virtual environment. However, this phase was canceled by DARPA, reportedly because it was seen as being too ambitious.

 
At May 11, 2009 12:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone read the phase one papers? Cooperation in science was a topic of one of John Tierney's TierneyLab series in the NYT awhile back.

Back to the papers go to:

http://www.darpa.mil/ipto/programs/bica/bica_phase1.asp

 
At May 11, 2009 1:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, not only read the papers, but seen in detail what went on behind producing them. The papers have little to do with reality. They were just little hyped snippets for DARPA program officers (what a shock!). I have a pretty cynical view of the entire process, at this point (I'm sure that being one of the few women there may have had an effect in the way I describe this).
There were very few individuals who were honestly interested in the project and the research. The vast majority of PIs merely wanted that big pile of money, no matter what it took to get it. There was no cooperation at all (some opportunistic alliances developed, occasionally, but just to beat the "other" guys; nothing to do with true exchange of ideas). It was a zoo with numerous alpha males coming from different tribes trying to bully each other for dominance.

 
At May 12, 2009 1:02 AM, Blogger The Neurocritic said...

The vast majority of PIs merely wanted that big pile of money, no matter what it took to get it.


Nothing like the current money grab for funds from the Recovery Act, eh? The Challenge Grants have been dubbed America's Got Science Talent (as compared to the brute force of Science Survivor). As of May 4, NIH expected to receive about 15,000 applications for 200 grants. Maybe there should be a live talent competition between the semifinalists.

 
At June 14, 2009 7:26 AM, Anonymous Richard Kennaway said...

And before BICA there was HYCS (High Yield Cognitive Systems). Even the Wikipedia page is defunct, but it included the remarkable statement (my emphasis added):

"It was quickly determined, though, that the Cognitive computing vision was in fact not ambitious enough; that its target of human capability was too limited to achieve traction on many of the problems produced by the defense community."

 

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