Massively Parallel AI

David L. Waltz

Most AI researchers would, I believe, agree that truly intelligent machines (i.e. machines on a par with humans) will require at least four orders of magnitude more power and memory than are available on any machine today [Schwartz 1988, Waltz 1988]. There is now widespread agreement in the supercomputing community that by the year 2000 all supercomputers (defined as the most powerful machines available at a given time) will be massively parallel [Fox 1990]. Yet relatively little thought has been given in AI as to how to utilize such machines. With few exceptions, AI’s attention has been limited to workstations, minicomputers and PCs. Today’s massively parallel machines present AI with a golden opportunity to make an impact, especially in the world of commercial applications. The most striking near-term opportunity is in the marriage of research on very large databases with case-based and memory-based AI. Moreover, such applications are steps on a path that can lead eventually to a class of truly intelligent systems.

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