Mouse Brain Simulated By Supercomputer

A team of researchers from the IBM Almaden Research Lab and the University of Nevada successfully simulated the neural activity of half of a mouse brain on a BlueGene L supercomputer that had 4,096 processors, each one of which used 256MB of memory.

James Frye, Rajagopal Ananthanarayanan, and Dharmendra S Modha set forth their methods in a provocatively titled research note "Towards Real-Time, Mouse-Scale Cortical Simulations".

What is a mouse brain, that we should wish to move towards simulating it? One half of a real mouse brain has about eight million neurons, each of which has up to eight thousand connections with other neurons; it's a very complex system, with a staggering amount of processing power.

The simulation was so computationally intensive that the supercomputer could not even handle real-time mouse cogitation. The researchers ran the simulation at one-tenth speed for only ten seconds.

The researchers say that the simulation does not model the real structures of a mouse brain, although in smaller scale tests they had seen "biologically consistent dynamical properties" in the simulations.

Science fiction fans have been waiting for this one, because it proves that even the most fanciful ideas of sf writers can have value. In his 1962 short story Think Blue, Count Two, Cordwainer Smith wrote about an interstellar space craft that used an enormous light sail to move from star to star over centuries. No human pilot could live long enough; the ship with its miles of sails was controlled by a computer. But what computing device could possibly be found that would be powerful, small and light - because every pound mattered?

Laminated mouse brains, of course.

"This brain isn't frozen," said Tiga-belas indignantly. "It's been laminated. We stiffened it with celluprime and then we veneered it down, about seven thousand layers. Each one has plastic of at least two molecules thickness. This mouse can't spoil. As a matter of fact, this mouse is going to keep on thinking forever. He won't think much, unless we put the voltage on him, but he'll think. And he can't spoil..."
(Read more about the Laminated Mouse Brain Computer)

There are some scientists who are working on harnessing the power of the living brain cells of small mammals. Dr. Yael Hanein of Tel Aviv University is working on Brain Chips With Uniform Self-Organized Neurons. Dr. Thomas DeMarse has created a "brain in a dish" that can play games - see Rat Neurons In A Dish Now Playing Flight Simulator. DeMarse's work was presaged by science fiction writer Peter Watts, who wrote about cultured brains (he called them head cheese) in his 1999 novel Starfish.

Don't miss these other science-fiction, science-fact mouse brain articles:

Read more about the simulation at the BBC.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/30/2007)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Computer ")

The Largest Virtual Universe!
'...a machine able literally to contain the Universe Itself .' - Stanislaw Lem, 1965.

ARM Wants To Build Brain Chips
'Slivers of microsoft, angular fragments of colored silicon...' - William Gibson, 1984.

Robot Swarms Controlled With Augmented Reality
'You're not thinking in enough dimensions...' - Daniel Suarez, 2009.

Eterni.me - To Skype With The Dead
'Nothing... left of Jeserac but a galaxy of electrons frozen in the heart of a crystal.'- Arthur C. Clarke, 1956.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Will A Steel Umbrella Stop Russia?
'Everyone was aware that the damned platform was wandering around in its own orbit...'

EVE Artificial Womb For Lambs (For Now)
'In the crimson darkness, stewing warm on their cushion of peritoneum and gorged with blood-surrogate and hormones...'

TIKAD Armed Drone Ready To Fight
'Each a television eye and a sonic stunner...'

Bees Royal Jelly Helps Wounds Heal Faster
'An alien drug... used by an insect race.'

NASA Wants To Make Oxygen On Mars
'They plop down on the Red and if the dust is deep enough ... they burrow in...'

Hackers Insert Malware Into DNA
'They tied the memory to the bloodline and that was their record!'

X2-VelociRoACH Cooperates To Launch Tiny Drones
Little robots cooperating can do big tasks. Eventually.

'Do Not Pay' Chatbots To Replace Law Firm Associates?
'I want my lawyer program.'

MULTI Model Of Star Trek Turbolift
Cool prototype video!

A Look Into The Future Of Spacecraft!
Ever wonder how you look when you enter a new part of a spacecraft?

An 'Ethical Black Box' For Robots?
Explored by science fiction authors.

Dadbot Digital Immortality
'A hardwired ROM cassette replicating a dead man's skills...'

Should We Permit Computers To Create Their Own Language?
'Talk Between Robots radio...'

Breakthrough Starshot Sprites Yearn For Alpha Centauri
'Whoever launched it fired a laser cannon...'

Kino Project Roaming Personal Fashion Robots
'Most of the crew have the tiny imp ride on their shoulder...'

Astronaut Exercise Video, Predicted By SF Writers
'Joe got out the gravity-simulator harnesses.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.