In this video, Steve Furber, the ICL professor of computer engineering at the School of Computer Science, University of Manchester, speaks to Computer Weekly's Cliff Saran about education and simulating the brain.
Furber was the principle designer behind the BBC micro home computer. Just over 30 years ago, in October 1983, be began work on the Acorn RISC Machine project, which ultimately led to the development of the ARM chip that now powers 10 billion devices, ranging from iPhones to in-car infotainment systems.
Furber, along with Sophie Wilson, who created the instruction set for the ARM chip, are to receive an award at the Economist Innovation Awards next week in recognition of their work in creating the ARM processor.
One of the devices powered by ARM is the Raspberry Pi educational computer. "The Raspberry Pi is part of a move to reintroduce creativity into the way computers are used in schools," says Furber.
The move to ICT education has led to an emphasis on using rather than programming computers. Furber would like to see this trend reversed, with “a swing back to the creative use of computers".
He is currently working on a project which is researching how computers could be used to model the brain. The machine, which is made up of one million ARM chips is being built to increase the understanding of how the brain works.
"The machine will incorporate one million ARM processor cores, but the brain is incredibly complicated. We will only be able to get to 1% of the scale [of the brain]."