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Dharmendra S. Modha
IBM Fellow; Chief Scientist - Brain-inspired Computing
Senior Manager - Cognitive Computing; IBM Research - Almaden


Dr. Dharmendra Modha is the founder of IBM’s Cognitive Computing group at IBM Research – Almaden and the principal investigator for DARPA SyNAPSE team globally. In this role, Dr. Modha leads a global team across neuroscience, nanoscience and supercomputing to build a computing system that emulate the brain’s abilities for perception, action, and cognition – all while consuming many orders of magnitudes less power and space than today’s computers. See IBM Communications: Phase 0 Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3.

In 2009, his group performed cortical simulations at scale of cat cerebral cortex (one billion neurons, 10 trillion synapses) on a BlueGene/P supercomputer. This work received ACM’s Gordon Bell Prize.

In 2010, his group compiled, visualized, and analyzed the largest long-distance network currently in existence of the Macaque monkey brain.

In 2011, his team demonstrated two path-breaking neurosynaptic cores that move beyond von Neumann computers and programming to ultra-low, super-dense brain-inspired cognitive computing chips.

In 2012, using 96 Blue Gene/Q racks of the Lawrence Livermore National Lab Sequoia supercomputer (1,572,864 processor cores, 1.5 PB memory, 98,304 MPI processes, and 6,291,456 threads), his group achieved an unprecedented scale of 2.084 billion neurosynaptic cores containing 530 billion neurons and 137 trillion synapses running only 1542 times slower than real time.

In 2013, his team unveiled a software ecosystem to program SyNAPSE consisting of a new functional simulator for the new architecture; a new neuron model; a new programming model; a new library of cognitive algorithms and applications, an end-to-end software development environment, and a teaching curriculum; and new conceptual models for cognitive systems.

He has significantly contributed to IBM’s businesses via scientific and technological innovations in caching mechanisms for DS8000, clustering algorithms for services, and coding theory for disk drives.

At IBM, he has won the Pat Goldberg Memorial Best Paper award twice, an Outstanding Innovation Award, an Outstanding Technical Achievement Award, and Communication Systems Best Paper Award. He holds 30 U.S. patents, and is an IBM Master Inventor. In 2010, he was elected to the IBM Academy of Technology. In 2014, he was appointed an IBM Fellow.

Dr. Modha has authored over 60 publications in international journals and conferences. He is a Fellow of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and a member of American Association for Advancement of Science, Association for Computing Machinery, and Society for Neuroscience.

Dr. Modha holds a B.Tech. in Computer Science and Engineering from IIT Bombay and a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from University of California at San Diego.