GPU Computing for Cognitive Robotics
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This thesis presents the first investigation of the impact of GPU computing on cognitive robotics by providing a series of novel experiments in the area of action and language acquisition in humanoid robots and computer vision. Cognitive robotics is concerned with endowing robots with high-level cognitive capabilities to enable the achievement of complex goals in complex environments. Reaching the ultimate goal of developing cognitive robots will require tremendous amounts of computational power, which was until recently provided mostly by standard CPU processors. CPU cores are optimised for serial code execution at the expense of parallel execution, which renders them relatively inefficient when it comes to high-performance computing applications. The ever-increasing market demand for high-performance, real-time 3D graphics has evolved the GPU into a highly parallel, multithreaded, many-core processor extraordinary computational power and very high memory bandwidth. These vast computational resources of modern GPUs can now be used by the most of the cognitive robotics models as they tend to be inherently parallel. Various interesting and insightful cognitive models were developed and addressed important scientific questions concerning action-language acquisition and computer vision. While they have provided us with important scientific insights, their complexity and application has not improved much over the last years. The experimental tasks as well as the scale of these models are often minimised to avoid excessive training times that grow exponentially with the number of neurons and the training data. This impedes further progress and development of complex neurocontrollers that would be able to take the cognitive robotics research a step closer to reaching the ultimate goal of creating intelligent machines. This thesis presents several cases where the application of the GPU computing on cognitive robotics algorithms resulted in the development of large-scale neurocontrollers of previously unseen complexity enabling the conducting of the novel experiments described herein.
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