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Mouse brain simulated on computer


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US researchers have simulated half a virtual mouse brain on a supercomputer.

The scientists 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.

Now the team is tuning the simulation to make it run faster and to make it more like a real mouse brain.

Brain tissue presents a huge problem for simulation because of its complexity and the sheer number of potential interactions between the elements involved.

The three researchers, James Frye, Rajagopal Ananthanarayanan, and Dharmendra S. Modha, 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.

Modelling such a system, the trio wrote, puts "tremendous constraints on computation, communication and memory capacity of any computing platform".

The team, from the IBM Almaden Research Lab and the University of Nevada, ran the simulation on a BlueGene L supercomputer that had 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 connectionss.

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 connectionss firing in a ways similar to the staggered, co-ordinated patterns seen in nature.

The researchers say that although the simulation shared some similarities with a mouse's mental make-up in terms of nerves and connections it lacked the structures seen in real mice brains.

Imposing such structures and getting the simulation to do useful work might be a much more difficult task than simply setting up the plumbing.

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 syn-nap-ses more detailed.

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Edited by Hum
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in the future the rich kids will be able to buy brain chips to help them to store/update/calculate/get information for their exams ^.^

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i have to say, honestly, i really don't want ai to progress as far as it's going. it's inevitable that it will keep going, but once people make a computer as smart or smarter than humans, they'll be able to remove protection. once a computer becomes self-aware, we've ultimately doomed ourselves. what people don't understand is that these things aren't just in science fiction movies. once robots become capable of thinking on their own and understanding things, they will understand that we want something usable against them. anything that can understand things on its own and learn things and analyze them and figure out ways to do things with them can remove itself from captivity.

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i have to say, honestly, i really don't want ai to progress as far as it's going. it's inevitable that it will keep going, but once people make a computer as smart or smarter than humans, they'll be able to remove protection. once a computer becomes self-aware, we've ultimately doomed ourselves. what people don't understand is that these things aren't just in science fiction movies. once robots become capable of thinking on their own and understanding things, they will understand that we want something usable against them. anything that can understand things on its own and learn things and analyze them and figure out ways to do things with them can remove itself from captivity.

Maybe it's you who watched too many of those sci-fi movies :p

Anyways, I think you're making a few unjustified assumptions:

1) AI will have a survival instinct

2) AI will have the intention to procreate and/or grow

3) AI will find a "fault" with humans and try to destroy them

4) We can't make a sandbox for AI (just because things always go wrong in the movies doesn't mean they will in RL)

Also, about robots, those aren't happening any time soon. The half a mouse brain at 1/10th speed was emulated on huge computer cluster. Proper AI will need something even bigger, and we'll have plenty of time to figure out if any of the above assumptions hold true before we can put AI into a robot that can run rampant and wreak havoc.

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