03 December 2012

Brain Simulation

The Nature article "Simulated brain scores top test marks" by Ed Yong (Nov. 29, 2012) describes a project to simulate the neurons of a brain via computer.  It's called Spaun!
Spaun sees a series of digits: 1 2 3; 5 6 7; 3 4 ?. Its neurons fire, and it calculates the next logical number in the sequence. It scrawls out a 5, in legible if messy writing.

This is an unremarkable feat for a human, but Spaun is actually a simulated brain. It contains 2.5 million virtual neurons — many fewer than the 86 billion in the average human head, but enough to recognize lists of numbers, do simple arithmetic and solve reasoning problems.
While the current version is quite slow, this seems like an interesting development!

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