A bolt from the Blue Brain

Seed Magazine has got video of a great talk by Henry Markham, the director of the Blue Brain Project which is developing the world’s largest simulation of networks of individual neurons in an attempt to understand the large scale dynamics of the brain.

Their ambition is to be able to run a simulation on the scale of the whole human brain within a decade.

If you want a good summary of where the ambitious project is at, Seed recently had an excellent Jonah Lehrer piece on the research that we featured earlier this year.

Markham’s talk is interesting not solely for his take on the project and its aims, but also for the fantastic visualisation he uses to illustrate what it’s doing.

Link to video of ‘Designing the Human Mind’ talk.

One thought on “A bolt from the Blue Brain”

  1. “Their ambition is to be able to run a simulation on the scale of the whole human brain within a decade.”
    I’ve been following this project a bit and find it very interesting. However, they have yet say where this computing power is going to come from. I’ve read one press release where Markham simply seems to bet on emerging technologies such as quantum computing maturing within a decade. According the little I know about the progress of emerging computational ‘hardware’, this seems unlikely.
    Assuming there is not a breakthrough technology that adds orders of magnitude to computing power within the next couple years, modeling billions of neurons at the molecular level seems intractable. Nonetheless, I think very valuable knowledge and techniques can be derived from modeling far less than the entire brain so the work is still awesome; just a bit early.
    My guess is that he knows all this and the promise of modeling the entire brain is to generate excitement and support. It seems that the project isn’t very ‘open’, I wish they’d make more technical information public.

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