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Researchers Hope to Build a Brain

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Henry Markram of the Human Brain Project

Henry Markram wants to create a computer model of the human brain that might help cure diseases and develop new supercomputers.

Credit: Reuters

The Human Brain Project, led by Ecole Polytechnique Federale's Henry Markram, aims to build a complete computer model of the human brain, which the researchers say could lead to disease cures, new supercomputers, and intelligent robots. Markram expects practical applications soon after the project is launched, including design principles for energy-efficient computers and new robots.

Markram already completed preparatory work for the computer modeling of the brain with the Blue Brain Project, which is modeling the molecular makeup of the mammalian brain. The researchers expect to produce a functioning total simulation of the brain by 2023. The Human Brain Project will use the Julich Research Center's supercomputers to help complete the research.

Julich neuroscientist Katrin Amunts is creating a detailed atlas of the human brain by cutting a brain into 8,000 slices and digitizing each of them with a high-performance scanner. The research will result in three terabytes of data, and Amunts says a higher-resolution brain atlas would likely consist of more than 700 terabytes.

From Spiegel Online
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