Research Papers

Blue Brain Technology Research Paper

Research Paper about Blue Brain:

Blue Brain Project is a project on computer modeling of human neocortex. It was started in July 2005 together by IBM and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne – EPFL).

The basic structural unit of the neocortex (a new cortex of the brain) is a cortical column.

One such column contains about 103-104 neurons, the dendrites of which extend through the entire height of the column. Neocortex and its every column consist of six layers. The thickness of each layer is approximately equal to the thickness of a credit card. The number of layers plays an important role in the thinking process. For example, a dog has four layers of neocortex, because of which it does not have enough capacity to predict the situation and cannot compute the next logical action.

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The project uses a Blue Gene supercomputer to model the columns. At the end of 2006, it managed to simulate one neocortical column of a young rat. To realize this operation one Blue Gene computer was involved, using 8192 processors to simulate 10,000 neurons.

That means that approximately one processor was used to simulate a single neuron. To connect neurons approximately 3 x 107 synapses were modeled.

Now the team is working in a “real-time” mode, in which 1 second of the real time brain work is modeled by processors in one second.

November 26, 2007 it was announced the completion of “Phase I” of the Blue Brain Project. The results of this phase are:

  • The new model of the grid structure that is automatically, on request, generates a neural network, based on presented biological data.
  • The new process of simulation and self-regulation, which automatically carries out a systematic validation and calibration of the model before a new release to better reflect the biological nature.
  • The first model of neocortical column of cellular level is built solely on biological data.
  • The simulation processes a huge amount of data (hundreds of gigabytes of data per second), which is extremely difficult to analyze. Therefore, besides the parallel processing of outgoing data a 3D visualization interface of the column was developed. The mesh-object of rendered column (10,000 neurons) contains about 1 billion triangles. The column model, with the mapping of the electrical activity has a volume of 150 GB. This interface allows you to visually analyze data and detect the electrical activity of the most interesting area. It also allows to compare the simulation results with experimental results, which are obtained by measuring the micro electroencephalogram of the column.

The researchers did not set themselves the task to simulate consciousness.

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