Artificial intelligence can do some amazing things, but can it really replicate actual human brain activity? A group of Japanese researchers say the answer is yes, albeit pretty ponderously. In an experiment run on one of the world's fastest supercomputers, the researchers managed to completely simulate the actions of 1.73 billion virtual nerve cells and 10.4 trillion synapses—or roughly 1% of total brain activity—for an entire second, CNET reports.
Granted, it took 40 real minutes to produce that single virtual second, and even that took a petabyte of main memory, or roughly the memory power of 250,000 regular PCs. But researchers are encouraged by the success. "If petascale computers … are capable of representing 1% of the network of a human brain today, then we know that simulating the whole brain at the level of the individual nerve cell and its synapses will be possible with exascale computers hopefully available within the next decade," the lead researcher says. (Read more supercomputer stories.)