ananyo writes "Spaun, a simulated brain containing 2.5 million virtual neurons, can recognize lists of numbers, do simple arithmetic and solve reasoning problems. Described for the first time in Science, Spaun — the Semantic Pointer Architecture Unified Network — stands apart from other attempts to simulate a brain, such as the ambitious Blue Brain Project, because it produces complex biological behaviors with fewer neurons.
A pure computer simulation, Spaun simulates the physiology of each of its neurons, from spikes of electricity that flow through them to neurotransmitters that cross between them. The computing cells are divided into groups, corresponding to specific parts of the brain that process images, control movements and store short-term memories. These regions are wired together in a realistic way, and even respond to inputs that mimic the action of neurotransmitters. The researchers also killed off Spaun's virtual neurons at the same rate as those in an ageing brain, and saw the same cognitive decline."
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