An 83,000-Processor Supercomputer Only Matched One Percent of Your Brain
You've undoubtedly heard over and over again about what an absurdly complex entity the human brain is. But a new breakthrough by Japanese and German scientists might finally drive the point home. Taking advantage of the almost 83,000 processors of
one of the world's most powerful supercomputers
Why is it so hard for computers to reproduce what your grey matter does as a matter of course? Volume. The human brain consists of about 200 billion nerve cells (neurons) that are linked together by trillions of connections called synapses. As the tiny electrical impulses shoot across each neuron, they have to travel through these synapses, each of which contains about 1000 different switches that route that electrical impulse. In total, one human brain could contain hundreds of trillions of these neural pathways. It's like a Choose Your Own Adventure book that stretches from here to Jupiter.
Some scientists, however, are hoping that's going to change-and soon. Markus Diesmann of the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine at Germany's Forschungszentrum Julich believes that, within the next decade, we'll be able to use exascale computers-capable of 1000 times one quadrillion operations per second-to represent the entire of the brain ""at the level of the individual nerve cell and its synapses."" Whether or not we'll actually be able to reach exascale computing by 2020, though, is still up for debate.
This particular exercise was meant simply to ""test the limits of the simulation technology developed in the project and the capabilities of K,"" according to the Japanese research institute RIKEN . But if it takes this much power to hit just one second of one person of what we can do on our own, at the very least, this should help put any fears about an upcoming Singularity to rest-that is, at least for now. [ CNET ]