The Blue Brain Project is an attempt to reverse engineer the brain, to explore how it functions and to serve as a tool for neuroscientists and medical researchers. The project is hosted at the Ecole Polytechnique’s Brain Mind Institute in Lausanne.
Professor Henry Markam is the project director. He has announced that his team will develop the world’s first artificial conscious and intelligent mind within a decade. Project investors include the Swiss government, IBM, and the European Union.
Markam’s strategy is to take apart actual brains cell by cell, dissecting the brain at the cellular level, analyse the billions of connections between the cells (neurons), and then plot these connections into a supercomputer (IBM Blue Gene). The computer is able to simulate the workings of about 10,000 neurones. This is about to a single rat’s neocortical column. The difference between the brain of a mouse and the brain of a human is basically just volume – humans have many more neocortical columns and thus neurons than mice.
In a few years we will know if he succeded or not.