Supercomputer cluster simulates 1 second of human brain activity

Posted on Tuesday, Aug 06 2013 @ 13:53 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
ExtremeTech reports researchers at the Okinawa Institute of Technology Graduate University in Japan and Forschungszentrum Jülich in Germany have managed to simulate a single second of human brain activity with the help of the K computer at the Riken research institute in Kobe Japan, the fourth fastest supercomputer in the world. This supercomputer features 82,944 eight-core SPARC64 VIIIfx processors, yet it still took 40 minutes to simulate a single second of a human's brain activity.
Using the NEST software framework, the team led by Markus Diesmann and Abigail Morrison succeeded in creating an artificial neural network of 1.73 billion nerve cells connected by 10.4 trillion synapses. While impressive, this is only a fraction of the neurons every human brain contains. Scientists believe we all carry 80-100 billion nerve cells, or about as many stars as there are in the Milky Way.

Knowing this, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the researchers were not able to simulate the brain’s activity in real time. It took 40 minutes with the combined muscle of 82,944 processors in K computer to get just 1 second of biological brain processing time. While running, the simulation ate up about 1PB of system memory as each synapse was modeled individually.


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Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.



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