Researchers have simulated 1 second of real brain activity, on a network equivalent to 1 percent of an actual brain’s neural network, using the world’s fourth-fastest supercomputer. The results aren’t revolutionary just yet, but they do hint at what will be possible as computing power increases.
A team of Japanese and German researchers have carried out the largest-ever simulation of neural activity in the human brain, and the numbers are both amazing and humbling.
The hardware necessary to simulate the activity of 1.73 billion nerve cells connected by 10.4 trillion synapses (just 1 percent of a brain’s total neural network) for 1 biological second: 82,944 processors on the K supercomputer and 1 petabyte of memory (24 bytes per synapse). That 1 second of biological time took 40 minutes, on one of the world’s most-powerful systems, to compute.
If computing time scales linearly with the size of the network (a big if; I have no idea if this would be the case), it would take nearly two and half days to simulate 1 second of activity for an entire brain.