Mouse brain simulated on computer

US researchers James Frye, Rajagopal Ananthanarayanan and Dharmendra S. Modha ran a "cortical simulator" that was as big and as complex as half of a mouse brain on the BlueGene L supercomputer. In other smaller simulations the researchers say they have seen characteristics of thought patterns observed in real mouse brains. In these other tests the team saw the groups of neurons form spontaneously into groups. They also saw nerves in the simulated connections firing in a ways similar to the staggered, co-ordinated patterns seen in nature.

The three researchers laid out how they went about it in a very short research note entitled "Towards Real-Time, Mouse-Scale Cortical Simulations". Half a real mouse brain is thought to have about eight million neurons – each one of which can have up to 8,000 connections, with other nerve fibres. The team, from the IBM Almaden Research Lab and the University of Nevada, ran the simulation thanks to the supercomputer's 4096 processors, each one of which used 256MB of memory. Using this machine the researchers created half a virtual mouse brain that had 8,000 neurons that had up to 6,300 connections. The vast complexity of the simulation meant that it was only run for ten seconds, at a speed ten times slower than real life.

For future tests the team aims to speed up the simulation, make it more neurobiologically faithful, add structures seen in real mouse brains and make the responses of neurons and syna-pses more detailed.

Link: Forum Discussion (Thanks Hum)
News source: BBC News

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

SanDisk: Price cut to persist & ramp up 56nm mass production

Next Story

Phishers Use Call Forwarding to Mask Fraud

12 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

Surely this simulated mouse has just as much animal rights as a real mouse? The conciousness and mind will be there, if only in digital not biological format.

When the technology is able to simulate a human mind, will this human mind have any rights? (seeing as it will be able to think and act just like any of us reading this now) And when the simulation surpasses the intelligence of the human mind, will we give this conciousness rights, or abuse it's power as a thinking "supercomputer"? If so, then I would not be surprised if the super-simulated-brain rebels against us, leading to the rise of the machines.

Where's the Terminator when you need him??

Wow, just think... If it's possible to simulate a mouse brain, then it's possible to simulate a human brain. Just think, within a few hundred years, you'll be able to make "backups" of your brain onto computers. And these backups could be emulated. So that way, when you're human form dies, you will still have a separate mind existing in a computer. And access to all information over the Internet would be available by thought. Why, you might even be able to control machines and robots and stuff. And maybe the knowledge of all these minds could be combined into one super-brain!

MUAHAHAHAHA! The future is going to be awesome!

so they made a computer that can think like a mouse, but can they make one that feels like a mouse? even for a creature as simple as mouse, if its basic decision makign skills take 4096 processors then its emotions would be probably need 16,384 proccessors. Computers are designed simply for "do this, do that" but can a computer think to itself about how it feels about what it jsut did or about what it did a week ago or what it may encounter in the future? Of course it can, it can do whatever we tell it to it will just take a hell lot more processing power and programming than simply "smell, turn left, find the cheese, eat it, rest".

...it wasn't a systematic decision-making system, that's been done plenty times before. It was an actual simulation of the neurons - under our present understanding of neurology, emotions, thoughts and decisions are all created by the patterns in the neuron firings. Therefore, the simulation _may_ have experienced emotions on a small scale.

"i hope you were not being sarcastic? The brain is one of the things left of which we actually have no clue about it's inner working. This simulations can help scientists understand one or two things about how a brain operates. Which in turn can lead to finding cures for alzheimer, amnesia, ..."

By saying "one of the things left of which we actually have no clue about" you have proven to me that you are a sheltered and oblivious person. There's so much that we don't know about it's ridiculous. The brain is not just one thing, it is a tiny spec in a huge mass of misunderstanding and confusion. My comment was to spectate on how much money was actually spent on this project, because I believe it really is stupid. We're not so much in a golden age anymore that we can forget what's around us all the time and use resources on future developments where there's still so much that isn't fixed already.

This brings me to the "Would you rather spend money on war", guy. You sir, may be just trying to get a word in edge-wise to not be left out, but I would appreciate that, in you doing so, you perhaps put some consideration into your words. I make a comment about spending a large amount of money on mouse-brain simulation, and you come to the conclusion I thought perhaps war would suffice more to my money-spending needs. Interesting. By the way, because I'm almost positive you didn't catch it, I was not hinting at war.

I was perhaps suggesting that money would better be spent on the here and emerging problems. Food for the poor, poverty in third-world countries, poverty in general, global warming, new earth friendly resource development, etc. etc. You should all know the problems that plague our world. Yes, curing alzheimer, amnesia, and other brain-related diseases is important, and I'm not saying that it is not, but if you look past your dead/dying alzheimer plagued grandparents for a second you'll realize that there there are much bigger problems out there at the moment, and if we keep ignoring them and spending money to simulate a mouse's brain, well, they aren't going to get fixed in a timely matter. And, time would seem to be something we don't really have.


I'm just kidding. I don't care about the planet. I'm going to die before any of this crap happens.

Eis said,
Money well spent, obviously.

i hope you were not being sarcastic? The brain is one of the things left of which we actually have no clue about it's inner working. This simulations can help scientists understand one or two things about how a brain operates. Which in turn can lead to finding cures for alzheimer, amnesia, ...

XerXis said,

i hope you were not being sarcastic? The brain is one of the things left of which we actually have no clue about it's inner working. This simulations can help scientists understand one or two things about how a brain operates. Which in turn can lead to finding cures for alzheimer, amnesia, ...

Exactly. This type of research leads to breakthroughs in computer science and the medical field.