Sunday, June 05, 2005

IBM Supercomputer To Model Entire Human Brain

IBM's Blue Gene and the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne have embarked on a project who's eventual goal is to create a functioning computer simulation of the entire human brain. Beginning with a simulation of a column of neurons in the neocortex of a rat brain, the team hopes to eventually expand to cover the whole brain, but they admit they don't yet have the computational power:

"The whole supercomputer is going to act as a single neocortical circuit...We won't have enough computing power in the next 10 years to simulate the whole brain," according to Henry Markram, director of the University's Brain and Mind Institute.

"The neocortical microcircuit is very similar from mouse to man," Markram said. "It's a project that could explain how the human cognitive process works. We'd be able to witness in detail how information is processed, how it is stored and retrieved. And it's going to save an immense amount of animal research."

The IBM Press Release provides more details.