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IBM and University of Nevada researchers used the IBM BlueGene L supercomputer to help simulate a mouse brain

IBM's BlueGene L supercomputer has helped researchers in the United  States simulate a mouse-like brain.  Researchers utilized BlueGene while they ran a "cortical simulator" that reportedly was "as big and as complex as half of a mouse brain."  Scientists believe that a half of a mouse brain actively contains around eight million neurons, with each one possibly having up to 8,000 synapses communicating with one another.

James Frye, Dharmendra Modha and Rajagopal Ananthanarayanan detailed how they simulated a mouse brain in a researcher paper:  "Towards Real-Time, Mouse-Scale Cortical Simulations."

Simulating a living brain has not been an easy task for scientists.  For example, brain tissue is hard to simulate because its so complex and can interact differently over time.  Unfortunately, even with the high computing power of the BlueGene L, the simulation was only able to run for 10 seconds -- at a speed that is similar to just one second of a real mouse brain.

Future problems that need to be worked on includes trying to simulate the structures that are seen in live brains.

They are now modifying the simulation to make it operate faster while working more like a real mouse brain.  Trying to extend the amount of time the simulation operates is one of the first goals for the research team.

The progress made by IBM and University of Nevada reseachers may help pave the way towards being able to simulate the brain of any living creature.  BlueGene L has not been able to properly model the human brain.

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Mouse = Blue Gene
By pauldovi on 4/30/2007 7:38:46 PM , Rating: 3
I find it humorous that one of the worlds most powerful super computers is necessary to simulate a mouse brain.

RE: Mouse = Blue Gene
By hadifa on 4/30/2007 7:45:42 PM , Rating: 3
I find it humorous that one of the worlds most powerful super computers is necessary to simulate a mouse brain.

And after the 10 seconds it asks for "CHEESE"!

RE: Mouse = Blue Gene
By Visual on 5/2/2007 5:37:26 AM , Rating: 2
Yes hopefully it was just "++?????++ Out of Cheese Error. Redo From Start." and not "+++ Divide By Cucumber Error. Please Reinstall Universe And Reboot +++"...

RE: Mouse = Blue Gene
By DragonMaster0 on 4/30/2007 9:37:02 PM , Rating: 2
And you need an other 100+ supercomputers to simulate a single human brain.

RE: Mouse = Blue Gene
By Falloutboy on 4/30/2007 11:07:56 PM , Rating: 3
the thing is though once you creat an intellegence on par with a human brain or slightly higher then it will make itself smarter much faster and it will be able to improve itself at an exponential rate

RE: Mouse = Blue Gene
By BladeVenom on 4/30/2007 11:12:59 PM , Rating: 5
"Los Angeles, year 2029. Skynet, begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. eastern time, August 29.

RE: Mouse = Blue Gene
By redbone75 on 5/1/2007 3:47:18 AM , Rating: 4
...and not even a whole mouse brain at that, just half a mouse brain. That and it was only for the equivalent of one second of actual time. But really, this is a great accomplishment. It just points to the vast complexity of the mammalian brain, and even the baby steps we seem to take are great strides to achieving our ultimate goal of understanding the human brain. Just goes to show that no matter how powerful our computers are they pale in comparison to our own "personal" computer. Now if I can just find my way out of this maze...

RE: Mouse = Blue Gene
By Emily on 5/18/2007 12:37:26 PM , Rating: 2
Then again, how well can our brain simulate a supercomputer :)

RE: Mouse = Blue Gene
By InsaneGain on 5/1/2007 3:29:13 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think anybody has even been able to completely simulate an ant's brain, let alone a relatively advanced animal such as a mouse. Mice are actually amazing little animals. I caught a couple of tiny ones in my house and put them in a plastic box with a top that had vents and trap door. I came home once and I saw both of them hanging from the top trying to get the trap door open. When they noticed me they dropped back down. I couldn't believe they were able to jump up and hang there, and figure out that they needed to get the door open on the top to escape. I made sure the top was snapped down, but the next day the door was open and they were gone.

This is nothing
By Dactyl on 4/30/2007 8:37:57 PM , Rating: 1
I've been simulating George Bush's brain on my computer for the past week. The whole thing, not just half.

RE: This is nothing
By Psychless on 4/30/2007 10:18:29 PM , Rating: 2
I simulated his brain on my computer. The computer gave me a BSOD, ranting about weapons of mass destruction on my hard drive. Unfortunately, 90% of my system resources are now dedicated to "fixing" this particular "problem". When I try to close the process I get a message saying "But is we learning if we close that there process?"


RE: This is nothing
By Dactyl on 4/30/2007 10:57:53 PM , Rating: 1
The computer gave me a BSOD
That's not what I got at all.

I was actually very impressed with the results of my simulation. The economy improved, victory in Iraq, and a short, successful war on and annexation of Canada ensured a long-term domestic supply of oil.

Four more years. Reelect Bush in 2008, that's what I say.


But on a serious note, this is actually what Bush said:

"The most important question is, are children learning?"

Not "is our children learning"

There are plenty of actual verbal goofs, but some people enjoy fake ones more than real ones.

RE: This is nothing
By Samus on 5/1/2007 1:47:49 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know if your trying to be sarcastic or just a dumb republican, but dubya is already in his post term. He obviously can't be re-elected, and since only a quarter of the country is 'satisfied' with his progress, it'll be a long time coming before you see anyone dumber in office.

RE: This is nothing
By Locutus465 on 5/1/2007 10:56:47 PM , Rating: 3
Are you sure your hard drive didn't unilaterally invade your DVD drive looking for weapons of mass destruction that don't exist while ignoring the real problem of malware running rampant in the network controller?

RE: This is nothing
By lumbergeek on 5/2/2007 8:46:02 PM , Rating: 2
I hope you were kidding - we canadians have enough problems with our own politicians without having Washinton's telling us what to do...

... oh wait, Washinton is ALWAYS telling Canada what to do. My bad.

Oh, and the constitution bans GW Bush from being re-elected. 2 terms and he's put out to pasture - at least the framing fathers got that right. If only they had done the same for Congress.....

RE: This is nothing
By frobizzle on 4/30/2007 10:27:35 PM , Rating: 2
I've been simulating George Bush's brain on my computer for the past week. The whole thing, not just half

Old news! I was able to simulate it with my Vic 20.

I am sure there are shorcuts
By AnnihilatorX on 4/30/2007 6:54:41 PM , Rating: 2
I am sure there are shorcuts to simplify the process. For example, in a 3D virtual game you don't have to simulate the individual behaviour of atoms to see physics in effect. I am sure some of the interactions between the chemicals and electrical nerve impules can be simplified or described by equations that is solved more efficiently with alogrithms

RE: I am sure there are shorcuts
By das mod on 4/30/2007 7:02:31 PM , Rating: 2
... and no lag

RE: I am sure there are shorcuts
By dice1111 on 4/30/2007 7:10:59 PM , Rating: 3
While this may be true, I'm not sure that is the point of the experment. I think they want to simulate the brain to function exactly how it's real life counter part would.

RE: I am sure there are shorcuts
By Rike on 4/30/2007 8:52:38 PM , Rating: 2
The point of the simulation is to help researchers study the process, not the output, of the mouse brain.

RE: I am sure there are shorcuts
By msva124 on 5/1/2007 5:35:56 AM , Rating: 2
What if the process is the output?

By feraltoad on 5/1/2007 3:03:55 AM , Rating: 4
So when can we expect that better mouse trap?

I've been working on one; it's a little box with a rope and a tiny chair in it, when the mouse enters it starts playing Kenny G. :)

By jaybuffet on 4/30/2007 8:15:11 PM , Rating: 1
How do the netsum of the running PS3's stack up to Bluegene

By zsouthboy on 5/1/2007 11:15:24 AM , Rating: 2
Because that matters why?

Computer Mouse
By bldckstark on 5/1/2007 10:05:32 AM , Rating: 3
Heck, I've had a whole mouse on my computer for years. I use it every day for pointing and clicking and slamming it down when I get pwned. I've even got a genetically mutated one that doesn't have a tail.

How long until they simulate the keyboard?

we're not even close
By msva124 on 5/1/2007 5:34:44 AM , Rating: 2
So we don't know how the mouse (or any) brain works, yet someone was able to program a simulation of it.

By the way, I was able to run the exact same simulation on my computer, but it took 1000 seconds per one mouse-brain second.

By Seemonkeyscanfly on 5/1/2007 10:32:44 AM , Rating: 2
What are we going to do tonight Brain? The same thing we do every night Pinky. We will plan to take over the world….Pinky do you know what I thinking about doing? Yes, Brain, but I do not know where I’m going to find a par of leather chaps that will fit me….

I'm pretty sure...
By Visk on 4/30/07, Rating: 0
"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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