IBM Blue Brain Project

Posted 6 Jun 2005 at 15:57 UTC by steve Share This

A Forbes article and a New Scientist article offer news of IBM's Blue Brain Project. For the project, IBM will build another Blue Gene style, Linux-powered super computer that will be used to simulate the human brain. The computer will use 8,000 CPUs and should reach about 23 trillion operations per second. The goal is not to create AI but to create a simulation of human neuron interactions. The project will begin with a multi-year attempt to simulate a rat's neurocortical column, which has only 60,000 neurons compared to the human brain's 10 billion. The simulation code will be based on Dr. Philip Goodman's NCS (NeoCortical Simulator). NCS is open source software and can be run on any Linux box, in case you don't have a supercomputer handy.

Comments, posted 7 Jun 2005 at 12:06 UTC by c6jones720 » (Master)

That sounds like an interesting project. Only one thing, it says that the biological neurons in their simulation can do more than normal artificial ones, but arnt they modelling with artificial neurons?

Artificial Neurons, posted 7 Jun 2005 at 18:19 UTC by dogsbody_d » (Master)

Okay, I couldn't find where they made that claim. Don't sue me, I was only skimming. However... "normal" artificial neurons are often simple things summing up their inputs and providing an output based on a simple mathematical function. When folks talk about Artificial Neural Networks, that's basically what they mean. There are different ways of training the networks, different ways of connecting them, and different ways they can be triggered. ANNs work, and so are in use all over the place. That's no guarantee that they are an accurate model of a real neuron, anymore than a robot arm has to be an accurate model of a human arm.

Real neurons in a real brain work in a more complicated way. There are lots of different neurotransmitting chemicals, lots of connections, goodness knows about updating and training.

While obviously any neuron in this computer will be artificial, it seems that the important thing for the researchers is that it is an accurate model of a biological neuron. For most AI researchers this is not important.

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