An ambitious project to create an accurate computer model of the brain has reached an impressive milestone. Scientists in Switzerland working with IBM researchers have shown that their computer simulation of the neocortical column, arguably the most complex part of a mammal’s brain, appears to behave like its biological counterpart. By demonstrating that their simulation is realistic, the researchers say, these results suggest that an entire mammal brain could be completely modeled within three years, and a human brain within the next decade.
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“I wouldn’t be surprised if they could do it,” says Serre. “However, it’s not clear what they could get out of it,” he says. If you want this model to be useful, you have to be able to understand how the behavior relates to specific brain functions. So far, it is not clear that the Blue Brain project has done this, he says.