Science magazine has announced the winner of its 2012 International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge. This annual illustration competition recognizes the work of artists to give visual form to scientific ideas or discoveries.
The image shows "Connectivity of a Cognitive Computer Based on the Macaque Brain."
The National Science Foundation explains: "Inspired by the neural architecture of a macaque brain, this ghostly neon swirl is the wiring diagram for a new kind of computer that, by some definitions, may soon be able to think. Over the past 2 years, IBM's cognitive computing group in San Jose, Calif., has made great strides toward designing a computer that can detect patterns, plan responses, and learn from its mistakes, says Emmett McQuinn, a hardware engineer at IBM who designed the image. First, he clustered and colored the nodes based on the 77 different functional regions that neuroscientists have identified in the macaque brain. Then, he found a circular arrangement that pleased him. "They took something that we know works fantastically efficiently in nature—the circuitry of the brain—and applied that geometry to computing. Then, they found an elegant and beautiful way to display it," says judge Thomas Wagner."
Credits: Emmett McQuinn, Theodore M. Wong, Pallab Datta, Myron D. Flickner, Raghavendra Singh, Steven K. Esser, Rathinakumar Appuswamy, William P. Risk, and Dharmendra S. Modha
See the other winners of the 2012 International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge.