Scientists have achieved a simulation milestone after digitally recreating a sliver of a rat’s brain on a computer. The brain simulation is a part of the Blue Brain Project, the first goal of which is to digitally reconstruct a rat’s brain. However, their final goal is much more ambitious, as they eventually want to digitally construct a human brain.
The Blue Brain Project’s experimentation began by recording the brain cell connections of tens of thousands of juvenile rats. By doing this, they were able to calculate principles that governed how brain connections were made and use computer programs to fill in the rest of the brain structure they could not calculate. From this, they were able to create a 3D model that showed over 600 million neuron connections. The team continued experiments until a part of a virtual rat brain was rendered on a computer, which was able to solve billions of equations for every 25 microseconds of neuronal activity.
The new simulation is just a tiny slice of a rat’s brain but includes 31,000 brain cells with 37 million connections. The simulation mimicked real experiments the team had done of rats and could even be used to predict behavior. Although these rats may be a little less intelligent than humans, these findings can still eventually be used to do the same with human brains. However, there is much to be improved on in this computer simulation, with other blood vessels, brain cells, and communications needing to be included in a future digital reconstruction for a more realistic picture. In the meantime, Disney might be able to use the findings for an interesting sequel to Ratatouille.