Feeds

Scientists build largest ever computerized brain

Still as dumb as a bag of hammers

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Canadian scientists have built a functioning computer simulation of the human brain, dubbed Spaun, that's able to recognize characters and perform simple actions.

The team at the University of Waterloo's Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience built the brain from 2.5 million computer-simulated neurons, compared to the average human, who has 80-100 billion.

The simulated neurons are modeled to behave as closely to human neurons as possible, and can be set up with specific algorithms to mimic different sections of the human brain.

The Spaun simulation also includes a simulated arm for movement and an eye capable of viewing a 28-by-28-pixel image. The brain can carry out eight functions, from drawing a symbol to more complex tasks such as ordering data, and the team is able to program in long and short-term memory functions.

"This is nothing like as quick as the human brain," Terrence Stewart, post-doctoral research associate on the project, told The Register. "It's got to be speeded up a massive amount before it even comes close – right now the system takes two and a half hours for the equivalent of a few second's thought."

No HAL in the cards just yet, then, in fact it makes Honey Boo-Boo look like Einstein, but the Spaun model is proving very useful at modeling areas of the brain for study. One of the neuron clusters developed covers the part of the brain most affected by Parkinson's Disease, and other applications are possible to map out cognition.

So far the model code is reaching the limits of what can be done, since the team is approaching the limits to how far you can scale the Java software (which is available here). But as the system improves, Spaun could help find new ways of working out just what is going on in those noggins of ours.

The full details have now been published in the journal Science. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
'This BITE MARK is a SMOKING GUN': Boffins probe ancient assault
Tooth embedded in thigh bone may tell who pulled the trigger
DOLPHINS SMELL MAGNETS – did we hear that right, boffins?
Xavier's School for Gifted Magnetotaceans
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Canberra drone team dances a samba in Outback Challenge
CSIRO's 'missing bushwalker' found and watered
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.