Swiss scientists aim to build a synthetic brain within a decade

The brain would provide insights into how our perceptions of the world are interpreted and stored, and how consciousness arises

  • Ian Sample, science correspondent
  •, Thursday 23 July 2009 15.16 BST
  • Article history
  • Brain The artificial brain may give scientists a new way to study diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Photograph: Rex/SunsetThe world’s first synthetic brain could be built within 10 years, giving us an unprecedented insight into the nature of consciousness and our perception of reality.

    Scientists working on the Blue Brain Project in Switzerland are the first to attempt to “reverse-engineer” the mammalian brain by recreating the behaviour of billions of neurons in a computer.

    Professor Henry Markham, director of the project at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, has already simulated parts of the neocortex, the most ‘modern’ region of the brain, which evolved rapidly in mammals to cope with the demands of parenthood a

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