The Blue Brain Project succeeded in simulating a rat cortical column. This neuronal network, the size of a pinhead, recurs repeatedly in the cortex. A rat’s brain has about 100,000 columns of in the order of 10,000 neurons each.
Each column seems to be allotted to a simple yet essential function. For example, it has been possible to show that in the rat, one specific column is devoted to each whisker.
The project has produced a new understanding of the rules determining the structure of neuronal circuits, which appear to be far simpler than was previously believed.
Images and description: Blue Brain Project/EPFL http://bluebrain.epfl.ch/
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