How powerful is a mind? Supercomputer takes 40 minutes to map 1 second of brain activity

The activity was modelled using a supercomputer with 1.4 millino GB of RAM and 700,000 processor cores

A powerful supercomputer in Japan has broken the code of the human brain, accurately mapping one second of one percent of human brain activity.

The numbers may not sound too impressive, but this is an important breakthrough in simulation technology and has wide-reaching implications.

Using the K supercomputer, the fourth most powerful in world, scientists in Japan replicated a network of 1.73 billion nerve cells and 10.4 trillion synapses.

It took the K computer, with over 700,000 processor cores and 1.4 million GB of RAM, 40 minutes to model the data.

The most sophisticated of its kind, the project, a joint venture between Japanese research group RIKEN and German research group Forschungszentrum Jülich, was designed to gauge the limits of brain simulation technology.

RIKEN’s success is the most significant development in the global brain race, wherein the world’s major economies are racing to map the human brain and unlock its secrets.

The USA has the BRAIN initiative, the EU has The Human Brain Project, and China has Brainnetome.

But mapping and then simulating the human brain requires next-gen supercomputing, an order of computational power known as 'exascale'.

An exascale computer is one that can perform a quintillion floating point operations per second, thought to be same power as a human brain.

No computer as powerful as this yet exists, but as well as these major nations and international organizations, private companies are also developing exascale technology.

Intel, for instance, has said that it aims to have this future-computer operational by 2018.

“If petascale computers like the K computer are capable of representing one per cent of the network of a human brain today, then we know that simulating the whole brain at the level of the individual nerve cell and its synapses will be possible with exascale computers - hopefully available within the next decade,” Markus Diesmann, one of the scientists involved, told the Daily Telegraph.

Such technology would herald an age of sophisticated medical research, and intelligent defence weaponry, and even artificial intelligence.

The Most Powerful Supercomputers in the World:

  1. National Super Computer Centre in Guangzhou (China)
  2. Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Tennessee, USA)
  3. National Nuclear Security Association (Nevada, USA)
  4. RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science (Japan)
  5. Argonne National Laboratory (Illinois, USA)
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

    £35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

    Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

    £45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Bristol

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
    Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

    Flesh in Venice

    Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
    Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

    Juventus vs Real Madrid

    Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
    Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

    Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

    Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power