IBM to simulate the “entire brain”

New Scientist is reporting that IBM will attempt to simulate the “entire brain” in collaboration with the Swiss Brain Mind Insititute using a specially modified computer system dubbed ‘Blue Brain‘.

It seems from the news reports that the system will attempt to simulate the physical properties of individual neurons and their connections – a science known as neuroinformatics. Both the New Scientist story, and another from Business Week, are a little light on detail however.

They both suggest that an initial project will be to simulate the structure and function of neocortical columns – the three dimensional, highly interconnected layers of neurons, famously found to be an essential part of the visual cortex.

Although impressive, this seems a far cry from simulating the ‘entire brain’, which would involve simulating 100 billion neurons and 100 trillion synapses in real-time.

This assumes, of course, there is a good enough understanding of how each neuron and synpase works – a science which is still very much in development.

The project is long-term however (a decade is mentioned), so hopefully it will allow for some important developments, even if physically simulating the entire brain might be a little far fetched – even in the near future.

Link to New Scientist article ‘Mission to build a simulated brain begins’.
Link to Business Week article ‘Blue Brain: Illuminating the Mind’.

3 Comments

  1. Posted June 6, 2005 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    IBM to simulate “entire brain”

    IBM and the Swiss Mind Brain Institute have created a project to “simulate an entire brain,” which has a lvoely Singularity ring to it, but as Mind Hacks points out, the fine print shows that the project is somewhat less ambitious than its billing woul…

  2. Posted June 6, 2005 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    IBM gaat menselijk brein nabootsen

    Hopen op een portable-versie, want die doet het vast geweldig op Rotary-borrels.

  3. Posted June 8, 2005 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    IBM to simulate the “entire brain” : The Blue Brain Project

    Mind Hacks: IBM to simulate the “entire brain”
    ÏïÑÎã¥Í≥º ÌïòÏôÄÍ∞Ä ÏÜåÏú†ÌïòÍ≥† Ïã∂Ïñ¥ÌñàÎçò Ïã†Ïùò Îä•Î†•Ïùò ÌïµÏã¨ÏùÄ ‘φÑÏßÄ(ÂÖ®Áü•, omniscience)’ÏòÄÎã§. Ïù∏ΕòÏùò ÏõêÏ£ÑÏùò Ï∂úÎ∞úφêÏù¥Í∏∞ÎèÑ Ìïú φÑÏßÄÏóê ÎåÄÌïú ÎèôÍ≤ΩÍ≥º…


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