Feeds

Scientists build largest ever computerized brain

Still as dumb as a bag of hammers

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
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
Relive the death of Earth over and over again in Extinction Game
Apocalypse now, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.