Feeds

Scientists build largest ever computerized brain

Still as dumb as a bag of hammers

Boost IT visibility and business value

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. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.