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Billion-Dollar Human Brain Project to Commence

Update Date: Oct 08, 2013 12:10 PM EDT
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The Human Brain Project, a neuroscience project experimented by 135 scientists in Europe aims to further research the understanding of the human brain.

The research, co-funded by the EU, will cost billions of dollars to execute over the span of 10 years. The project's start date is already in full effect.

"The Human Brain Project is an attempt to build completely new computer science technology that will enable us to collect all the information we have built up about the brain over the years," said Professor Henry Markram, Director of the HBP at EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne), in Switzerland to BBC News

The Human Brain Project expects to analyze cognitive skills in the brain that are mimicked from a computer perspective, including decision-making and evaluating crowds.  

"We should begin to understand what makes the human brain unique, the basic mechanisms behind cognition and behavior, how to objectively diagnose brain diseases, and to build new technologies inspired by how the brain computes," said Markram.

According to BBC News, research for the HBP can be complex because of the fact that the brain has 100 billion neurons and 100 trillion synaptic connections making it nearly impossible to map the entire human brain.

Another complexity for the project questions the amount of power and data storage in computer's capabilities today in age. Supercomputers are advancing, but in order to successfully replicate timely brain activity a computer might need energy from an out source power station.

"By contrast the human brain needs just 30 watts; the energy to run a light bulb," said BBC News. "The scientists involved accept that current computer technology is insufficient to simulate complex brain function. But within a decade, supercomputers should be sufficiently powerful to begin the first draft simulation of the human brain."

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