MIT’s Technology Review reports on an item we covered back in June — how IBM scientists are trying to understand the neocortex, by modeling it on computers:
The neuron modeling project “is going to be larger than anything done before, by an order of magnitude,” says Charles Peck, the computer scientist at IBM’s T. J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY, who heads the project, dubbed “Blue Brain.”
The researchers will take raw data collected from rat neurons at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne and feed it into an IBM supercomputer that is among the world’s fastest. Henry Markram, the Swiss neuroscientist heading the biological end of the project, says a graphical representation of just the 10,000 neurons in a rat neocortical column will require up to two terabytes of storage–roughly the amount of data that can be held in 400 standard recordable DVDs. IBM computer scientists experienced in simulating biological systems will help build a 3-D model that mimics the interactions of these neurons and compare its performance against Markram’s laboratory data.