the group’s massively parallel cortical simulator, C2, now has the ability to simulate a brain with about 4.5 percent the cerebral cortex capacity of a human brain, and significantly more brain capacity than a cat.
The IBM researchers endowed the model with checkpoint-based state-saving capabilities, so that the simulation can be rewound to certain states and then moved forward again under different conditions. They also have the facility for generating MPG movies of different aspects of the virtual brain in operation, movies that you could also generate by measuring an animal’s brain but at much lower resolutions. There’s even a virtual EKG, which lets the researchers validate the model by comparing it to EKGs from real brains.
As the total amount of memory in the model scales, the number of neurons and synapses that can be simulated scales roughly linearly, also [which means] that a future version of Blue Gene with two or three orders of magnitude more memory (and associated bandwidth and processing power) will be able to simulate an entire human brain.
The model also exhibits “strong scaling,” which means that increases in the amount of memory per CPU enable them to run the model faster, so that it will eventually be able to simulate a cortex in real time.
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By Adam Wulf on November 19, 2009