Numenta: Why Brains Matter




At Numenta, we are tackling one of the most important scientific problems of all time: figuring out how the brain works.

This fascinating organ has incredible functionality. It makes predictions, models objects, and generates behavior.

It’s what allows a toddler to explore its world by crawling across a room or learn how to open a door. It’s what enables you to learn something by touching it with one hand and recognize it with the other. It’s why you can only interpret this image as a 3D staircase, even though it’s merely a group of 2 dimensional lines.

Your brain is what makes you, you. But how does it work?

Inside a part of your brain called the neocortex are about 200,000 cortical columns, as thick as a strand of spaghetti, 2.5mm long, and all doing the same thing. This tiny yet powerful column is repeated throughout the neocortex and it’s solvable. If we can understand what this is doing, we can understand how the brain works.

While there are many experimental neuroscience laboratories, Numenta is unique in our focus on brain theory. Our team of theorists and research engineers are reverse-engineering the brain to understand how it works.

This has many important implications, one of which is establishing a path to machine intelligence. Just as we didn’t know what problems computers would solve when they were created, we can’t know all the problems intelligent machines will solve either. But we do know they will have an incredible impact on our health, our planet, our very existence.

We can imagine brain-based machines that may travel to space and explore areas where humans cannot survive. They may operate with non-biological sensors, and be able to think and act orders of magnitude faster than humans. They may help us cure diseases and maintain a livable planet.

Understanding how the brain works may be our greatest challenge, but we can solve it. And that’s our mission at Numenta.

Learn more about how our work is helping to advance the state of brain theory and machine intelligence by visiting