What has over 100 billion neurons (nerve cells) and over 100 trillion synapses?

The human brain consists of approximately 100 billion neurons (which is as many cells as there are stars in the Milky Way). Each neuron has somewhere between 1,000 and 10,000 synapses, equaling over 100 trillion synapses  (up to 1,000 trillion, by some estimates)

July update to the Human Brain Project

Excerpt from:

The Guide to the Future of Medicine: Technology AND The Human Touch

by Bertalan Meskó

Published: August 2014

Japanese scientists could map one second’s worth of activity in the human brain with K computer, the fourth most powerful supercomputer in the world. It has 705,024 processor cores and 1.4 million gigabytes of random access memory (RAM) at its disposal. Simulating the neural network of 1.73 billion nerve cells and 10.4 trillion synapses requires such petascale computers; simulating the whole brain at the level of individual nerve cells and their synapses will probably be possible with exascale computers within the next decade.

Stanford University announced that it has been working on a circuit board that can mimic the behavior of the human brain. The so–called Neurogrid circuit is now able to replicate the processes of 1 million human neurons, resulting in computer chips that are 9,000 times faster than a desktop computer. The human brain consumes only three times as much power as NeuroGrid with 80,000 times more neurons than that. Their long–term goal is to develop this technology further so that its prosthetic interaction with the human mind could look like science fiction. One of the lead researchers said that due to exponentially powerful technologies which are transforming our sphere of possibilities, we are no longer subject to Darwinian natural selection. We will be able to extend our reach.

The Human Brain Project, funded by the European Commission, aims at building a completely new computing infrastructure for neuroscience and brain–related research, catalyzing a globally collaborative effort to understand the human brain and its diseases and, ultimately, to emulate its computational abilities. The project involves hundreds of researchers and will cost an estimated €1.1 billion.

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Brain Activity Map

[Note: In the US, a competing brain project is also in progress] Your brain is vast on a cosmic scale. Billions upon billions of neurons communicate with one another via trillions of connections, giving rise to what amounts to a network of networks. Widely adopted (but by no means universally accepted) theories posit that these neural networks are the wellsprings of such complex processes as perception and action. Many neuroscientists believe that a detailed BAM could reveal valuable clues about these and other cognitive functions, and perhaps human consciousness, itself.

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How is the Human Brain Project Doing in the Summer of 2015?

Overview of the Human Brain Project


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Controversy Swirls in 2014

Fall of 2015: International Conference scheduled “with the purpose of exploring the fundamental roles, interactions as well as practical impacts of Brain Informatics.”

Follow the Human Brain Project on Twitter


Exclusive Brain Project Interview

in International Innovation

Meeting of Mind & Machine_July 2015a