Saturday, April 28, 2007

Mouse brain simulated on a computer

OK, half a mouse brain, but even so this seems to be an incredibly exciting step.

From the BBC comes the news that the modeling of around 8 million neurons with up to 8000 interconnections each was conducted on the BlueGene L supercomputer and...

The vast complexity of the simulation meant that it was only run for ten seconds at a speed ten times slower than real life - the equivalent of one second in a real mouse brain.

On other smaller simulations the researchers said they had seen "biologically consistent dynamical properties" emerge as nerve impulses flowed through the virtual cortex.

In these other tests the team saw the groups of neurons form spontaneously into groups. They also saw nerves in the simulated synapses firing in a ways similar to the staggered, co-ordinated patterns seen in nature.

I'd love to know from experts how realistic this is and how much further we can go with current technology.

Update: From what I've found on the subject it seems that the link to the mouse brain was simply a comparison of the number of neurons and synapses. The structure, unsurprisingly was not there. The paper is supposed to be linked to here but doesn't seem to be working right now.


Anonymous said...

Good lord. One second of mouse brain simulated by PC? Cherry's intelligence has been surpased. Won't be long now before his XBox becomes cleverer than him.

Anonymous said...

Inman - an xbox is far more clever than a mouse. A mouse can't even load up Gears Of War if you insert the game into it. You're merely left with two halves of mouse and lots of blood. Believe me, I've tried.

Unknown said...

Over at Slashdot ( there's a discussion about this topic (not the mouse bit though). One commenter wrote:

Without [cosmic rays randomly firing neurons] you have a deterministic machine, and not a brain.

To which another wrote:

Why do so many people refuse to entertain the possibility that they might be deterministic?

to which the excellent response was:

Well, it's not like they have a choice.

This made me chuckle, it doesn't take much.