An international team of researchers has just gained $1.6 billion to fund a project which will simulate the human brain, which is like a CPU in that it is the brain of a computer.
The Human Brain Project (HBP) will take ten years and will involve scientists from lots of different disciplines.
The big idea is to understand and map the network of over a hundred billion neuronal connections that elicit emotions, and volitional thought. It is also believed that they can find the source of consciousness, which is a bit like the 21st century finding of the source of the Nile, only Lake Victoria actually exists,
The researchers will be using a progressively scaled-up multilayered simulation running on a supercomputer. The project is so big that it is being compared with the Large Hadron Colllider in terms of scope and ambition.
The project, which will be based in Lausanne, Switzerland, is an initiative of the European Commission. This is probably because US-based brains still think that the world was created in seven days, 10,000 years ago.
HBP will build new platforms for "neuromorphic computing" and "neurorobotics." This will lead to the creation of new computing systems and robots based on the architecture and circuitry of the human brain.
Initially the plan is to reconstruct the human brain piece-by-piece, and gradually bring these cognitive components into an overarching supercomputer. They will then give it a big cup of coffee and fire it up.
In a press release, Swedish Nobel Laureate Torsten Wiesel said that the HBP will be a driving force to develop new and still more powerful computers to handle the massive accumulation of new information about the brain.
The research may also give rise to fundamentally new computer architectures modelled after the brain.
This cooperation should lead to new concepts and a deeper understanding of the brain, the most complex and intricate creation on earth, he said.
It might also help in the treatment of neurological disorders like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.