I'd like to know whether there were attempts to simulate the whole brain, I'm not talking only about some ANN on microchips, but brain simulations.


2 Answers 2


Vernor Vinge said that if we can scan a human brain and then simulate it: We can run it at 1000 times the speed. The brain will be able to do 1000 years of thinking in 1 year ect.

At this stage in history we have the computer power.

The trouble lies in cutting a brain up and scanning the 100 billion neurons and 12 million kilometres of axons and 100000 billion synapses. And piecing together the connectome from all the data.

Sebastian Seung at MIT is working on automating this scanning process with machine learning. By gathering training data from thousands of people playing his Eyewire game

Henry Markram in Europe tried to do something similar with his Blue Brain Project. He attempted to simulate the neocortical column of a rat. The EU gave him a billion euros to do this. Unfortunately he has been heavily criticised by the Neuroscience community. They claim that we don't know the physiology well enough to make a valid simulation.

Check out his Ted Talk.

In the 1970s Sydney Brenner achieved a full brain scan of a C Elegans worm. This worm has one of the simplest biological neural networks having only 302 neurons. Here is a picture of its connectome:enter image description here enter image description here

An accurate computer simulation of this worm would be a major stepping stone to uploading a human brain.


Neuromorphic engineering offers various of ways of reproducing the brain’s processing ability.

The recent technology can include IBM's multi-artificial-neuron computer, the world's first artificial nanoscale stochastic phase-change neuronsarticle. Check the: Stochastic phase-change neurons study.

Other can include

  • Neurogrid, built by Brains in Silicon at Stanford University is another example for brain simulation. It uses analog computation to emulate ion-channel activity. It emulates neurons using digital circuitry designed to maximize spiking throughputwiki.

  • SpiNNaker, which is a manycore computer to simulate the human brain (see Human Brain Project).

  • SyNAPSE, a DARPA neuromorphic machine technology, that scales to biological levels. Each chip can have over a million of electronic “neurons” and 256 million electronic synapses between neurons. In 2014 the 5.4 billion transistor chip had one of the highest transistor counts of any chip ever produced. The program is undertaken by HRL, HP and IBM.


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