Friday, March 20, 2015

World’s largest supercomputers took 40 minutes to calculate 1 second worth of human brain activity

The most accurate simulation of the human brain to date has been carried out in a Japanese supercomputer, with a single second’s worth of activity from just one per cent of the complex organ taking one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers 40 minutes to calculate.
Researchers used the K computer in Japan, currently the fourth most powerful in the world, to simulate human brain activity. The computer has 705,024 processor cores and 1.4 million GB of RAM, but still took 40 minutes to crunch the data for just one second of brain activity.
The project, a joint enterprise between Japanese research group RIKEN, the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University and Forschungszentrum Jülich, an interdisciplinary research center based in Germany, was the largest neuronal network simulation to date.
It used the open-source Neural Simulation Technology (NEST) tool to replicate a network consisting of 1.73 billion nerve cells connected by 10.4 trillion synapses.
While significant in size, the simulated network represented just one per cent of the neuronal network in the human brain. Rather than providing new insight into the organ the project’s main goal was to test the limits of simulation technology and the capabilities of the K computer. 
Through their efforts, the researchers were able to gather invaluable knowledge that will guide the construction of new simulation software. In addition, their achievement offers neuroscientists a glimpse of what can be achieved by using the next generation of computers - so-called exascale computing.
Exascale computers are those which can carry out a quintillion floating point operations per second, which is an important milestone in computing as it is thought to be the same power as a human brain and therefore opens the door to potential real-time simulation of the organ’s activity.
Currently there is no computer in existence that powerful, but Intel has said that it aims to have such a machine in operation by 2018.


  1. stillnotregisteringMarch 20, 2015 at 10:42 AM

    "The computer has 705,024 processor cores and 1.4 million GB of RAM, but still took 40 minutes to crunch the data for just one second of brain activity."
    And we're supposed to believe the human brain/computer evolved all by itself, via random mutations. I think not.

  2. This is no surprise to me as Nature has a speed limit on the processing of information, the same limit that stops a photon travelling faster than the speed of light, despite any energy added to it to speed it up. We experience the reaction to this information flow as gravity, inertia, momentum, centripetal force and other natural, nuclear and electrical forces.

    The human brain represents the maximum processing speed limit in an electro-chemical system, and I reckon we also have the added bonus of being able to connect to the information field – where the information is stored and travels to and from, to get new ideas and access old experiences. We call them memories and epiphanies, but it also means our brains are resource-light - we don't need to store everything we experience, having this external database resource, that with training, one can access.

    Humans will be able to simulate a brain's power eventually, but it will be eons away from being as efficient and small as our brains, plus we have an integrated cooling and nutrition system, with learning, numerous positive emotions, self-maintenance
    and some ability for damage repair.

    Good luck 'computer science' replicating this specification and performance, better just employ humans in what they do best – thinking about difficult stuff and horses for courses!

  3. I don't know if photons are a good example since they don't travel slower than the speed of light either even when the energy level is reduced.

  4. Characterizing evolution as "random mutations" is a gross oversimplification of the concept. It's most certainly guided by the extrinsic landscape of the environment, and any "guiding hand" would have to be found there and in the definition of the underlying mechanics.

  5. This is scary because the computers and programs will just get faster and more sophisticated.

  6. Do you think it hasnt been found?

  7. I think the evidence one way or the other for a "guiding hand" in evolution is highly subjective and has more to do with a person's intrinsic disposition than with any observable facts about the universe.

  8. Agree.10000000000000000000%.

    As Creek said, it's like a hurricane flying over a junk yard and building a 747...

    Obviously there is some type of guiding hand.

  9. And to think that evolution is not highly subjective? Either way, a human being came about with just exactly the correct sequence of DNA by chance in just a few million years by chance.

    It's easier to believe in a tooth fairy evolving in the same period of time.

  10. For you to present such perceived implausibility as an argument for an intelligent shows an utter failure to grasp the infinite or entropy...

    Replace "hurricane" with "the normal seething bubbling reality of the quantum universe" and we would in-fact, in a non-infinite amount of time, expect a fully built/functional 747 to spontaneously "appear" out of thin air. It would take longer than the age of the universe to occur, but given an infinity (either in time, or in space) eventually it would have to happen.

    In light of this fact, the observation that we just so happen to live in a universe that is "just perfect" for us, against all odds, is loaded with confirmation bias (since, after all, we are here to ask the question, which implies that no matter how rare such a universe is, we're in just such as "perfectly formed" universe.)

  11. Again you demonstrate a woefully deficient understanding of basic biology.

    "just exactly the correct sequence"? uhmmm, no, human beings have lots of different sequences to accomplish the same things... Why do you think we have different hair color, eye color, heights, etc... Even with all of this inter-species variation almost all of our genome is shared with other primates.

    At no time did a fully formed "human genome" materialize. It turns out that our genome is full of "switches", where a single changed nucleotide base pair can switch on entire series' of molecular machinery resulting in major changes to the whole organism. Such complexity in gene expression, which is itself not irreducibly complex, can lead to all sorts of "leaps and bounds" in evolution, as entire segments of previously dormant DNA get toggled on and off throughout the eons (as they change.)

    Go research some of the previously cited examples "irreducible complexity" that have been put fourth by those who came before you, by people who asked such questions as "how could an eye have evolved, either it's a whole functional eyeball, or it's useless?"... Well, it turns out no, that's wrong, there are all sorts of intermediate designs for a photoreceptive organ on surface of an organism, and each one is constructed starting from a particular pattern of genetic material.

    There is nothing sufficiently "special" about a human being that differentiates us in kind from any other primate. It's all just a matter of degrees (and changing degrees is easy for evolution.)

  12. And you have a grasp of the infinite?

    Maybe your "laws" are just thought?

    Maybe the universe is a conscienceless, that you of a limited 3D thought pattern are not willing (ego) to accept as you believe that man is all powerful.

  13. Yes, I do have a pretty good grasp on many of the ramifications of infinity. Any decent mathematics education that includes calculus will give you this.

    Go combine that pretty good understanding of the mathematical implications of infinity, couple if with some physicals, some molecular biology, and some basic logic and you come out with the incomplete though fairly self-consistent understanding of the universe most educated intelligent people have today.

    I'm pretty positive that the universe has consciousness, since after all we are part of it, and we are conscious.

    My thought pattern is more 4D, since I've got a decent grasp of time and space. One a good day maybe 4.5D, as I start to grapple with some aspects of higher plane interactions.

    Man, in his current form, is undeniably NOT all powerful, but we could easily become vastly more aware and powerful than we are now.

  14. It's OK to use the maximum speed of photons as an example, because the velocity is not caused by information flow only limited by it. The photon can't move from one quanta to the next before the information is updated, since the information describes, amongst other things, the position and velocity vector.

  15. Reminds me of when I used an Amiga when I was at Herward College in Coventry in 1994 making Video Films, it was so easier in those days using 4Mb Ram. Nowadays have 6Gb Ram and cannot attain same grandeur cursory image stabilisation.

  16. Dimitri LedkovskyMarch 21, 2015 at 2:29 PM

    So what is that Kurtzweil creep babbling about with his AI takeover of the planet? Maybe this will be needed, but only by those lacking one second of brain activity.

  17. If it takes supercomputers all that time to make strange calculations liek this, just why are we conditioned to fall down at their feet?

  18. Your-GIRL-is-a-dirtbagMarch 22, 2015 at 12:28 AM

    So some omnipotent mystical being that has existed forever is more fathomable right? lol

  19. Your-GIRL-is-a-dirtbagMarch 22, 2015 at 12:32 AM

    Define Consciousness, its underlying mechanical principles; then equate that to "the universe". Otherwise it is difficult to assimilate your pseudo-scientific subjective assertions which are underpinned with fallacies.

  20. I don't have to define consciousness to know it exists. I know I'm conscious from subjective experience of the fact and from the fact that 'consciousness' is an attribute that I define myself to have. So too with 'The Universe', in its broadest sense, is simply everything that exists. What fallacies have I made? I'd be interested to see if you can articulate anything other than a naiive useless existential doubt of 'does anything really exist?'

    Are you college educated? Do you even know enough about the world to speak intelligently about it? What's you IQ? I'd be curious to know if you're one of those 'so smart they're dumb' people to just dim.

  21. I'll keep this short. Yes they do.

  22. No, reducing the energy level doesn't affect the speed of light, it affects the wavelength of the light.

    I also have seen no evidence that photons themselves travel slower than the speed of light, even in 'slow light' conditions where the net speed of the photon/electron/quantum complex is less than the speed of the photon itself.

  23. stillnotregisteringMarch 27, 2015 at 6:03 AM

    Speaking of irreducible complexity, have they figured out yet how did blood vessels form?

  24. stillnotregisteringMarch 27, 2015 at 6:13 AM

    Meaningless phrases like "extrinsic landscape of the environment" don't help your cause. What was the extrinsic landscape when the world (according to your belief system) consisted of only single celled organisms - you know, way back?
    BTW, I'm not the one who decided to characterize evolution as random mutations (RM's acted upon by NS, natural selection, that is). I didn't come up with that nonsense.
    But I do agree it's a nonsensically gross oversimplification, but it fits right in with the so-called "science" of evolution - said "science" is 100% conjecture, and always has been. Haven't you ever noticed?
    Further, RM/NS is the entire "definition of the underlying mechanics" of evolution and has been since that failed seminary student, what's his name, came up with that particular brain fart.

  25. Random mutations acted upon by natural selection is "nonsense" huh? Oh, it's not like we haven't, you know, actually observed this type of evolution in action in single celled organisms, the kind of which share genetic ancestry with certain organelles (mitochondria) in every cell of our own bodies?

    And while random mutation followed by natural selection is more than sufficient to get the process of evolution started, saying that's all evolution is is like saying an elephant is just a only of atoms.

    The moment you gain the molecular machinery to shuffle genes and accomplish sexual reproduction the speed at which evolution can occur is greatly accelerated. This can occur because it's no longer just a matter of one lineage competing with another, two successful lineages of a similar organism can keep reproducing until one of their offspring will get the best of both and be even better.

    In a very real sense *we* are not the organism at all, we are the environment that the primary organism (the gene) has created so as to best propagate itself. That is accomplishes all this starting with a foundation of just random mutation and natural selection is amazing, but not all that surprising (with it being that seeds of life only have to evolve once in the universe, then once spread in the dust of space can seed millions of worlds with the molecules to get the process started anew.)

    Oh, to answer your question, what was the "extrinsic environment" "way back", well, hotter, wetter, more radiation, and lots more free carbon in the atmosphere, just like you'd expect for the type of environment in which a carbon based random mutation propelled natural selection constrained evolutionary process would start.

    All of this would be pretty apparent to someone whose taken some college level biology. Have you taken the time to really learn the topics you dismiss so readily or have you only done a shallow review without every opening your mind to the possibility due to a conflict with existing "holy" teachings?

  26. We actually do have quite of bit of information about how blood vessels form, which has to do with molecular signaling, concentration gradients, and cell populations migrating within the organism and dividing based on instructions contained in their genome.

    The exact sequence in which those gene patterns came into being may be information that is no longer retrievable by any means whatsoever, but "irreducible complexity", not even a little...

    The fact is we carry around an ocean within our bodies, one that has a salinity identical to the ocean as it would've existed around the time our last ocean-dwelling ancestors left the sea forever. Coincidence? I don't think so, no when you look back at all of the sea organisms with open circulatory systems, which share many similarities with the blood vessels we carry the code to make to this day.

    It's not much of a leap at all to believe that, in all likelihood, we're using a modified copy of the "circulatory fluid channel" "recipe" that we inherited from one of our sea dwelling ancestors, and from them it doesn't take a whole lot of imagination to go backward from closed circulatory system to open, and then from open circulatory system to less and less complex patterns, until eventually you have maybe a tube shaped organism which used pulsations to move fluid through the tube, and before that maybe another tube shaped organism that didn't move fluid through the tube but pushed it through by swimming like a shark, and from there maybe lose the channel altogether, and you get a worm-like organism with no circulatory system whatsoever.

    Anybody who relies on "irreducible complexity" to short circuit a search for truth is either is woefully undereducated about the wonders of the natural world is is horribly deficient in imagination.

  27. stillnotregisteringApril 1, 2015 at 5:02 PM

    "Oh, to answer your question, what was the "extrinsic environment" "way back", well, hotter, wetter, more radiation, and lots more free carbon in the atmosphere, just like you'd expect for the type of environment in which a carbon based random mutation propelled natural selection constrained evolutionary process would start."

    That's 100% conjecture, as is all evolutionary "theory." That was your personal fantasy, whatever you could dream up in a moment's time. But everyone knows that no one really knows what the environment was like, but that doesn't stop the blather. It's hard to let go of something you believed all your life, even when you discover it's BS. The ego can be a mighty foe.

    I never said natural selection was nonsense. We all know natural selection 'exists' and can be observed in nature, leading to changes within given species.

    However, as you know but gloss over, evolution goes much further and claims RM/NS also leads to completely NEW SPECIES, and that has never been observed in nature or the laboratory. There's no proof RM/NS is what led to the thousands of animal/vegetable species on this planet. It started out as a brain fart in the troubled mind of a failed seminary student turned amateur biologist. It began as conjecture, and it remains conjecture ... even after all this time.

    Intelligent, rational folks are starting to laugh at the dumbness of it all, but I guess you haven't noticed.

  28. stillnotregisteringApril 1, 2015 at 5:10 PM

    Conjecture, fantasy ... that's what you provide. Heck, how is that different than the great sky king and seven days? I'm not asking how you think it might have happened, I'm asking how it did happen.

    Maybe you miss the point: The tubes I'm most interested in carry blood, the blood carries the oxygen and everything else the organism (including the tubes themselves) needs. But the newly forming tubes can't carry sheet until they are complete, until they are closed and connected to their sources and destinations (which can't exist yet because, you know, no blood).

    So, my imagination tells me what your imagination tells you is impossible.

  29. Conjecture and fantasy my a**, we have entire cancer treatment strategies built upon our existing understanding of how blood vessels form. Unsurprisingly these drugs are called angiogenesis inhibitors.

    You are also wrong in your claims that blood vessels can't carry anything until they are fully connected to their eventual capillary drainage. If you had any appreciable amount of education about biology you'd know that they would still deliver fluid and nutrients to the tissues and that the excess fluid accumulation would then drain away from the interstitial space and into the lymphatic system.

    Your imagination clearly sucks because the exact process that you cannot fathom happens every single time a fertilized egg divides, implants, continues to grow and differentiate, and eventually forms all the tissues and organs that make up a person (blood vessels and all.) Science actually knows quite a lot about embryology and how this all happens, and it's no confidence that the human goes through developmental stages retracing our evolutionary past, including worm-like, fish-like (with gill arches and all,) salamander-like, etc. Our vestigial tails are eventually absorbed.

    I'm serious about going and taking some college level biology courses. A lot of these things you're having so much trouble imagining are fairly well understood.

  30. stillnotregisteringApril 2, 2015 at 5:06 PM

    What a load of crap. Seriously.

  31. Oh I forgot God must just snap his fingers and a fully formed little human magically appears in its mother's womb every time a pregnancy occurs. And those people who invent drugs to block the formation of blood vessels couldn't possibly have any knowledge about 'God's designs' about how those blood vessels form and instead MUST BE WITCHES! LET'S BURN THEM AT THE STAKE FOR THEIR HERESY!

    Your level of ignorance and closed mindedness really is remarkable.

  32. stillnotregisteringApril 3, 2015 at 8:43 AM

    You still haven't explained or referenced an explanation as to how those vessels formed, you distract from the issue and introduce irrelevant crap about "people who invent drugs" as proof that someone somewhere must know how they formed. So very laughable that you continually try to pass off blather as scientific evidence.

    Oh, and regarding your fantasy: "the excess fluid accumulation would then drain away from the interstitial space and into the lymphatic system" ... where did the lymph vessels come from? you see how lame your stuff is?

  33. WTF do you mean 'where did the blood vessels come from'? Go to your local farm, buy a live fertilized chicken egg, put it in an incubator, and WATCH the blood vessels form. They differentiate and migrate within the developing organism, same as all the other tissues? What other could you possibly have expected? If it happens progressively every time an individual organism grows then how can you not see how the process can happen incrementally?

    The lymphatic vessels came from the same place as the blood vessels (the differentiating cells of the developing organism) and for similar reasons (gene expression.) If you're asking where the very first lymphatic vessel comes from (which is an entirely different question) it has an explanation similar to, but simpler than, blood vessel (I won't give that explanation again, you can scroll up for it.) Since lymphatic drainage is merely an extension of interstitial space, before the first 'lymphatic vessel' proper formed there was simply the fluid in the space surrounding the cells. In a very small organism (such is as exists before the development of any vessels) you can get away with no proper 'vessels' because nutrients and waste diffuse directly with the environment.

    You want too see *exactly* how lymphatic vessels form? Then google 'lymphatic embryology' and START READING. I'm not going to sit here any play the 'one true Scotsman' game with you while each time I give you the answer to assumed was unknown you keep demanding yet another piece of the combined human knowledge on biology. If you want to know all these things that other people know then go get educated.

  34. Oh, and try googling "NIH stem cells coaxed to create working blood vessels"... They clearly know enough about how blood vessels form to make them in a lab.

  35. stillnotregisteringApril 4, 2015 at 9:25 AM

    Calm down, Jo. You're getting way off track. Everything you point out, isn't evidence or proof. NONE of your misdirection explains how blood or lymphatic vessels formed via RM/NS. Nor do you or can you provide a link which does. You can't meet the challenge. Sorry.

  36. Like I said before, the information that you seem to be asking for, which would be the exact, molecule by molecule run-down of the mutations, is likely lost to time, and impossible to know with certainty. If you're demanding photographic evidence from someone who was there when it evolved you're not gonna get it.

    Since you seem to concede that evolution occurs within species I'd be curious to know by what mechanism do you think evolution would block the formation of a new species when two populations of organism separate and evolve divergently past the point where they are sexually compatible?

  37. stillnotregisteringApril 4, 2015 at 1:59 PM

    "We do however have a step by step fossil record that compellingly demonstrates this evolution."

    Now, we're getting somewhere. Where can I find that, can you link me to it?

    "Since you seem to concede that evolution occurs within species I'd be curious to know by what mechanism do you think evolution would block the formation of a new species"

    I don't concede that. I concede RM/NS has been observed and results in variations, or different breeds, within the species. The term evolution is generally understood to center on the formation of new species from existing species, that was the novelty, the great new idea, when it was introduced, not RM/NS, which were already accepted (well, NS, anyway).

    I don't know what prevents NS/evolution from forming new species, but that (my ignorance, or anyone else's) is not a proof that it happened. And, since what you and the theory postulate has never been observed in the wild or in the lab, we are left with conjecture.

    Conjecture goes something like this: "the information that you seem to be asking for ... [is] impossible to know with certainty."
    This is where the evolutionist's faith comes into play. I don't share that faith, I want proof.

  38. Requiring 'proof' isn't how science works, and not even the theory of gravity would rise to the level of proof you're demanding (proof beyond any doubt whatsoever.) Science is about providing the most plausible and likely answer, not proving things beyond any doubt whatsoever. The theory of evolution IS in theory falsifiable, and plenty of creationists have tried, but the fact that they've all failed supports the assertion that it's the most scientifically plausible explanation of the origin of species. It makes a whole heck of a lot more useful predictions about nature than 'God did it'.

  39. stillnotregisteringApril 7, 2015 at 12:57 AM

    I think I'm starting to see where you get the name "stillnotregistering".
    Uh oh, you're starting to resort to (lame) ad hominem attacks, a sure sign of an empty head.

  40. stillnotregisteringApril 7, 2015 at 1:32 AM

    I'm not here to state that "God did it." You're making an assumption about me - evolutionists try to limit the discussion to evolution vs genesis, then shoot down the straw man, so evolution must be right (the most plausible).
    I call that EZPZ science. You don't have to outrun the bear, just your buddy ...
    I'm here to say with certainty that the theory of evolution does not hold water, that it is ALL based upon conjecture and therefore does not even belong in the realm of science. You're the living proof as you continually refer to and rely upon your own and/or other's "ideas" of how evolution "might" have happened . Ideas are nice and all, but they're so malleable, which is convenient for evolution, but makes for lousy science. At some point you have to prove something to support the fantastic claims evolution makes. At first it was supposed to be the fossil record, but upon closer inspection it doesn't support evolution. Charles himself said so, but he assumed the missing evidence would be found later. He was wrong.

    Further, modern day biological discoveries have rendered the entire theory obsolete, and laughably so.

    Modern day hits from the REAL world of science are coming like freight trains and the blows have been fatal to evolution - you either haven't noticed, or don't want to. For example, evolution can't (as in, will never be able to) explain ATP Synthase, and so it must fail as a theory. Simply put, ATP Synthase could not have come about buy NS/RM, which is obvious once you understand how ATP synthase is produced in the body.

    ATP Synthase is explained: and is just one of many modern catch-22's that Darwin never had to contend with, which nevertheless sink his primitive fantasy.
    Doesn't it concern you that an untrained hobbyist biologist had a brain fart and it remains essentially unchanged 150 years later? Historically, that "isn't how science works."
    You are familiar, of course, with the original title of Darwin's masterpiece? Ever wonder what compelled him to give it that title???

  41. If you think our understanding of evolution hasn't grown in the decades since Darwin you don't have much knowledge about biology or the state of modern science. There have been huge advances in our understanding.

    So if evolution 'doesn't hold water' what is your theory on how our planet came to be populated by species that are uniquely adapted to the environments in which they find themselves? The only other 'theory' with any real prominence essentially amounts to 'God did it'. If you're aware of a third plausible explanation please let us all in on your idea, but until then even an incomplete or otherwise imperfect understanding of evolution wins the 'most plausible explanation put fourth yet' crown by a mile.

  42. Oh, and all of science relies heavily on "conjecture". That falls under the "hypothesis" section of the scientific method. You'd know that if you actually had any appreciable scientific education to speak of.

  43. stillnotregisteringApril 8, 2015 at 10:45 PM

    I'm done. You're boring me to tears. Same blather, no proof. Darwinism ALL conjecture, not some, not "heavily", ALL, and always has been. Every single article, paper, study ALWAYS says, might, could have ... nothing is certain in evolution. NOTHING.
    I won't be responding anymore. You win. Have a nice life, and then it goes black for you, I guess.
    Good luck with that. I'm going to keep searching for my maker.

  44. Nothing is ever certain. That's science. Absolute certainty falls in the realm of religious dogma, which you apparently already have an abundance of.