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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