Berlin : Scientists have developed a computer that mimics the brain's neural networks, and could overcome the speed and power consumption problems of conventional supercomputers. The custom-built computer named SpiNNaker produced results similar to that of the best brain-simulation supercomputer software currently used for neural-signalling research, The system may help advance our knowledge of neural processing in the brain, to include learning and disorders such as epilepsy and Alzheimer's disease.
Novel computer mimics human brain networks
The human brain is extremely complex, comprising 100 billion interconnected brain cells. We understand how individual neurons and their components behave and communicate with each other and on the larger scale, which areas of the brain are used for sensory perception, action and cognition.
However, we know less about the translation of neural activity into behaviour, such as turning thought into muscle movement. Supercomputer software has helped by simulating the exchange of signals between neurons, but even the best software run on the fastest supercomputers to date can only simulate one per cent of the human brain.