Last week U.S. researchers used a BlueGene L supercomputer to run a "cortical simulator" that was as big and complex as half of a mouse brain.
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 synapses, or 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".