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The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced that one of three new research centers funded through its Science and Technology Centers Integrative Partnerships program will be the Center for Brains, Minds and Machines (CBMM), based at MIT. Like all the centers funded through the program, CBMM will initially receive $25 million over five years.
CBMM grew out of the MIT Intelligence Initiative, an interdisciplinary program aimed at understanding how intelligence arises in the human brain and how it could be replicated in machines.
Headquartered at MIT, CBMM will be, like all the NSF centers, a multi-institution collaboration. Of the 20 faculty members currently affiliated with the center, 10 are from MIT, five are from Harvard University, and the rest are from Cornell University, Rockefeller University, the University of California at Los Angeles, Stanford University and the Allen Institute for Brain Science. The center’s international partners are the Italian Institute of Technology; the Max Planck Institute in Germany; City University of Hong Kong; the National Centre for Biological Sciences in India; and Israel’s Weizmann Institute and Hebrew University. Its industrial partners are Google, Microsoft, IBM, Mobileye, Orcam, Boston Dynamics, Willow Garage, Deep Minds and Rethink Robotics.
CBMM aims to foster collaboration not just between institutions but also across disciplinary boundaries. Graduate students and postdocs funded through the center will have joint advisors, preferably drawn from different research areas.
The center’s four main research themes are also intrinsically interdisciplinary. They are the integration of intelligence, including vision, language and motor skills; circuits for intelligence, which will span research in neurobiology and electrical engineering; the development of intelligence in children; and social intelligence. Poggio will also lead the development of a theoretical platform intended to undergird the work in all four areas.