Brain Simulation

Posted by Ali Reda | Posted in | Posted on 12/16/2010

The brain is a parallel processor. The colorful blue jay I see flitting from tree to tree in my garden appears as a single image. But the brain divides what it sees into four components: color, motion, shape, and depth. These are individually processed - at the same time – and compared to my stored memories. My brain then combines all of these processes into one image that I see and comprehend.
Today's most powerful supercomputers are all massively parallel processing systems with names like Earth Simulator, Blue Gene, ASCI White, ASCI Red, ASCI Purple, and ASCI Thor's Hammer. Through Moore's Law – which states that the number of transistors on a chip double every eighteen months – single chips that function as parallel processor arrays are becoming cost effective.

Blue Brain Project

The human cortex has about 22 billion neurons and 220 trillion synapses. A supercomputer capable of running a software simulation of the human brain doesn’t yet exist. Researchers estimate that it would require at least a machine with a computational capacity of 36.8 petaflops (a petaflop is a thousand trillion floating point operations per second) and a memory capacity of 3.2 petabytes – a scale that supercomputer technology isn't expected to hit for at least three years.
Markram’s Blue Brain project is the first comprehensive attempt to reverse-engineer the mammalian brain. The brain processes information by sending electrical signals from neuron-to-neuron using the “wiring” of dendrites and axons.Using a Blue Gene supercomputer running Michael Hines's NEURON software, the simulation does not consist simply of an artificial neural network, but involves a biologically realistic model of neurons

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