In the 1980s, Mead grew frustrated with the limits of traditional CPU design, and turned to mammalian brains for inspiration. Three decades hence, this field of neuromorphic computing is back in the spotlight with efforts like the Human Brain Project. Mead, now 79, maintains a professor emeritus position at Caltech, where he taught for over forty years. In a recent interview with MIT Technology Review, Mead details why it’s important for computer engineers to explore new forms of computing.
Mead is also directing his energy into developing a unified framework to explain both electromagnetic and quantum systems. This is summarized in his book Collective Electrodynamics. Mead is skeptical, yet supportive, of current quantum computing projects.