Researchers working on the Blue Brain Project at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland (EPFL) have implemented a fifth-generation supercomputer to help reach the goal of digitally simulating a complete mammalian brain by 2020.
The Blue Brain 5 is a 372-node SGI 8600 system that realizes a peak performance of slightly more than one petaflop, with 94 terabytes of memory.
The researchers argue the new system's modest floating-point capacity is warranted because bandwidth and I/O performance are seen as far more valuable to fulfilling project parameters than greater numbers of flops (floating point operations per second).
The models reflect different biological scales, beginning at the molecular level of genes and proteins and evolving to more complex structures of synapses, neurons, axons, and glial cells.
The Blue Brain team's ultimate goal is to simulate cognition and how different cognitive states may be mapped to microcircuitry.
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