The Blue Brain Project at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland is an attempt to simulate the functioning of the brain by building the virtual organ from the ground up, molecule by molecule. After much computer programming of data from experimental studies into the virtual organ, the first effective simulations have been performed.
The BBC reports:
The first phase of the project is now complete; researchers have modeled the neocortical column – a unit of the mammalian brain known as the neocortex which is responsible for higher brain functions and thought.
“The thing about the neocortical column is that you can think of it as an isolated processor. It is very much the same from mouse to man – it gets a bit larger a bit wider in humans, but the circuit diagram is very similar,” Henry Markram, leader of the Blue Brain project and founder of the Brain Mind Institute in Switzerland, told BBC News.
He added that, when evolution discovered this “mammalian secret”, it duplicated it many many times and then “used it as it needed more and more functionality”.