Computer model simulates neurological functions

from the computational-neuroscience dept.
According to a press release (17 December 2001) researchers funded by the Cognitive and Neural Sciences Division at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) are working to reverse engineer certain brain functions in order to produce a machine or system that might mimic some of the brainís capabilities. They announce they have been able to simulate mammalian brain function using biologically realistic, highly detailed computer models of individual brain neurons and their assemblies. From this research they are learning how the architecture and physiological properties of cells in the brain (the primary visual cortex) integrate visual cues for target recognition.
ìRight now weíre building a cellular-level model of a small piece of visual cortex,î says Dr. Leif Finkel, head of the University of Pennsylvaniaís Neuroengineering Research Lab. ìItís a very detailed computer simulation which reflects with some accuracy at least the basic operations of real neurons.î His colleague, Kwabena Boahen, is building VLSI computer chips that reproduce cortical wiring and many of the properties of the cells. ìHe has a chip that accurately models the retina and produces output spikes that closely match real retinae. We hope someday that these can be used as retinal implants.î

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