The first phase of the project will be to make a software replica of a column of the neocortex or cortex. The neocortex constitutes about 85 per cent of the human brain's total mass and therefore an accurate replica of the neocortical column is the essential first step to simulating the whole brain. The research will also link the genetic, molecular and cognitive levels of brain functions
"Modelling the brain at the cellular level is a massive undertaking because of the hundreds of thousands of parameters that need to be taken into account," said project leader Professor Henry Markram. "IBM has unparalleled experience in biological simulations and the most advanced supercomputing technology in the world. With our combined resources and expertise we are embarking on one of the most ambitious research initiatives ever undertaken in the field of neuroscience."