Researchers at Manchester University have put into operation a supercomputer that works like the human brain. The world’s largest neuromorphic supercomputer is called SpiNNaker and was thought twenty years ago. It took no less than ten years to build.

A neuromorphic supercomputer mimics the neural function of the human brain. For this purpose, from the so-called direct peaks of electrochemical energy. To achieve this, the scientists have built a computer with one million processors in the core. They’re all needed to simulate the 100 billion neurons in the human brain. So far, SpiNNaker can generate 200 billion actions per second.

Other than traditional computers

Unlike traditional computers, SpiNNaker does not communicate by sending large amounts of information from point A to point B. This is not the case with traditional computers. Instead, it works a lot of parallel actions at once and sends billions of pieces of data to thousands of locations.

Steve Furber, a professor at Manchester University who came up with the idea of the supercomputer, states that SpiNNaker completely changes the way a conventional computer works. In essence, we have built a machine that works more like a brain than a traditional computer.

Medical applications

Because SpiNNaker functions as a human brain, it has great potential for medical and scientific applications. Real-time simulations can be run on a large scale, which are not possible on other computers. The supercomputer imitated the basal ganglia. That’s the part of the brain that Parkinsons has a lot of influence on.

The intention is to slowly scale up the supercomputer. The artificial brain will soon have a capacity of 1 billion biological neurons. That’s 1% of the human total.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.