Fujitsu supercomputer simulates 1 second of brain activity

The Fujitsu K computer was the first to break the 10 petaflop barrier, or 10 quadrillion operations per second.

(Credit: Tim Hornyak/CNET)

Is it really possible to simulate the human brain on a computer? AI researchers have been investigating that question for decades, but Japanese and German scientists have run what they say is the largest-ever simulation of brain activity using a machine.

The simulation involved 1.73 billion virtual nerve cells connected by 10.4 trillion synapses and was run on Japan’s K computer, which was ranked the fastest in the world in 2011.

It took the Fujitsu-built K about 40 minutes to complete a simulation of one second of neuronal network activity in real time, according to Japanese research institute RIKEN, which runs the machine.

The simulation harnessed the power of 82,944 processors on the K computer, which is now ranked fourth on the biannual international Top500 supercomputer standings (China’s Tianhe-2 is the fastest now).

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