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Tuesday, 17 May 2011 13:58

Swiss and German boffins want to built a brain

Written by Nick Farell
y_globe

Computer modelling
Boffins from Switzerland and Germany are to build a computer model of a human brain, dubbed the Human Brain Project. The team is trying to get a £1billion grant and claim that if they succeed in building a brain on a computer they could find cures for various diseases like Parkinson's.

Henry Markram, director of the Human Brain Project in Switzerland claims that the project could lead to intelligent robots and supercomputers which would dwarf those currently in existence. Markram is a neuroscientist at the École Polytechnique Fédérale in Lausanne, Switzerland. He said that humanity needs to understand what makes us human.’ He thinks that if they secure the funding, they will be able to replicate mankind's most vital organ in 12 years.

It would mean that drug companies could dramatically shorten testing times by bypassing humans to test new medicaments on the computer model. Supercomputers at the Jülich Research Center near Cologne are earmarked to play a vital role in the research which Makram says will involve ‘a tsunami of data.’


Nick Farell

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