HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Science » Science (Group) » New $1.6 billion supercom...

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 05:43 PM

New $1.6 billion supercomputer project will attempt to simulate the human brain

In what is the largest and most significant effort to re-create the human brain to date, an international group of researchers has secured $1.6 billion to fund the incredibly ambitious Human Brain Project. For the next ten years, scientists from various disciplines will seek to understand and map the network of over a hundred billion neuronal connections that illicit emotions, volitional thought, and even consciousness itself. And to do so, the researchers will be using a progressively scaled-up multilayered simulation running on a supercomputer.

And indeed, the project organizers are not thinking small. The entire team will consist of over 200 individual researchers in 80 different institutions across the globe. They're even comparing it the Large Hadron Colllider in terms of scope and ambition, describing the Human Brain Project as "Cern for the brain." The project, which will be based in Lausanne, Switzerland, is an initiative of the European Commission.

According to scientists working on the project, HBP will build new platforms for "neuromorphic computing" and "neurorobotics," allowing researchers to develop new computing systems and robots based on the architecture and circuitry of the brain. The researchers will attempt to reconstruct the human brain piece-by-piece, and gradually bring these cognitive components into an overarching supercomputer.

"The support of the HBP is a critical step taken by the EC to make possible major advances in our understanding of how the brain works," said Swedish Nobel Laureate Torsten Wiesel in a recent statement. "HBP will be a driving force to develop new and still more powerful computers to handle the massive accumulation of new information about the brain, while the neuroscientists are ready to use these new tools in their laboratories." He added that the research may also give rise to fundamentally new computer architectures modeled after the brain.


http://io9.com/5980117/new-16-billion-supercomputer-project-will-attempt-to-simulate-the-human-brain

9 replies, 826 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 9 replies Author Time Post
Reply New $1.6 billion supercomputer project will attempt to simulate the human brain (Original post)
Redfairen Jan 2013 OP
mike_c Jan 2013 #1
darkangel218 Jan 2013 #2
NoOneMan Jan 2013 #3
BlueJazz Jan 2013 #4
sakabatou Jan 2013 #6
DreamGypsy Jan 2013 #5
dimbear Jan 2013 #7
jberryhill Jan 2013 #8
bananas Jan 2013 #9

Response to Redfairen (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 05:47 PM

1. it's all fun and games until Skynet goes live....

Just sayin'.

All kidding aside though, I'm REALLY looking forward to reading the papers that emerge from this project.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Redfairen (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 05:54 PM

2. Wow.. science fiction becoming real science once again

Awesome!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Redfairen (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 06:03 PM

3. That's a lot of dough

 

I can create human-like intelligence by simply having sex a few times. I think nature has this one covered

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Redfairen (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 06:19 PM

4. If it's a Republican brain, I've got an old Texas Instruments computer I'll donate.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to BlueJazz (Reply #4)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 06:27 PM

6. I have a TI-83. Hmm... maybe that's too much.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Redfairen (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 06:21 PM

5. A bit of history ... and skepticism about the Human Brain Project...

Personally I think the HBP is a cool idea. Only time will tell what the results will be...but isn't that the whole point of scientific exploration??

After reading the post and the article I did a little followup searching.

I found this interesting article from the 22 February 2012 issue of Nature: Computer modelling: Brain in a box : Henry Markram wants €1 billion to model the entire human brain. Skeptics don't think he should get it.

Officially, the Swiss Academy of Sciences meeting in Bern on 20 January was an overview of large-scale computer modelling in neuroscience. Unofficially, it was neuroscientists' first real chance to get answers about Markram's controversial proposal for the Human Brain Project (HBP) — an effort to build a supercomputer simulation that integrates everything known about the human brain, from the structures of ion channels in neural cell membranes up to mechanisms behind conscious decision-making.

Markram, a South-African-born brain electrophysiologist who joined the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) a decade ago, may soon see his ambition fulfilled. The project is one of six finalists vying to win €1 billion (US$1.3 billion) as one of the European Union's two new decade-long Flagship initiatives.

<snip>

As the response at the meeting made clear, however, there is deep unease about Markram's vision. Many neuroscientists think it is ill-conceived, not least because Markram's idiosyncratic approach to brain simulation strikes them as grotesquely cumbersome and over-detailed. They see the HBP as overhyped, thanks to breathless media reports about what it will accomplish. And they're not at all sure that they can trust Markram to run a project that is truly open to other ideas.

“We need variance in neuroscience,” declared Rodney Douglas, co-director of the Institute for Neuroinformatics (INI), a joint initiative of the University of Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich). Given how little is known about the brain, he said, “we need as many different people expressing as many different ideas as possible” — a diversity that would be threatened if so much scarce neuroscience research money were to be diverted into a single endeavour.


Some good history, commentary, criticism, diagrams, and a video at the link.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Redfairen (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 09:30 PM

7. If they try to elicit emotions rather than illicit them, their computer will be better behaved.

Just sayin.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dimbear (Reply #7)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 01:00 AM

8. Maybe this one will be able to spell

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Redfairen (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 01:06 AM

9. Consciousness will require quantum computers

Presentation Videos for Alan Turing Centenary Institute on Evolution and Consciousness
http://www.democraticunderground.com/12288701

French physicist Bernard Espagnat wins million-pound Templeton Prize
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=228x50336

How The Hippies Saved Physics
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=show_mesg&forum=228&topic_id=81966&mesg_id=81966

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread