Researchers have reached a milestone in an effort to create a virtual nematode worm in a computer.
The OpenWorm Project has used algorithms alone to artificially recreate internal muscle sensation. The developers are using the open source channel to crack the long-term memory code of the C. elegans nematode worm, which has 302 neurons and about 6,000 synapses. In addition to achieving a building block for worm locomotion, the team used a smooth particle hydrodynamics simulator to create an environment for the virtual worm to swim in.
The researchers computed one-third of a second of movement, which took 72 hours to calculate, but they would like to extend the length of time and attach a synthetic 302-neuron brain to it. The goal is to reproduce real-world behavior, validate it against experimental recordings, and let people play and interact with the worm from their browsers via Geppetto.
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