Advanced Brain Simulator to Help Understand Neurological Disorder

In a bid to improve understanding of neurological disorders, researchers have created a fast and energy-efficient simulation of part of a rat brain with Keyboard Maker Nvidia’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) compute platform.

Developing faster and more efficient simulators could increase the level of understanding the mind function and also determine how damage to a particular arrangement in neurons can lead to deficits in brain function.

For creating the simulator, the investigators used computer hardware developed for 3D games, according to the study published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience.

The study showed that a single Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) was able to achieve processing speeds around 10 per cent faster than is now possible using either a supercomputer or even the SpiNNaker neuromorphic system, a custom-built machine.

The team was also able to achieve energy savings of 10 times compared to the SpiNNaker or supercomputer simulations.

The academics hope that the flexibility and power of GPUs means they can play a key part in producing simulators capable of running models that begin to approach the complexity of the human brain.

“Our work shows that, in the long run, they (GPUs) are a competitive design for high performance computing and also have the capability to make progress far beyond where CPUs have brought us to so much,” explained Thomas Nowotny Professor of Informatics at the University of Sussex in Britain.

“We’re very pleased with the use of the Nvidia AI calculate platform for brain simulations spear-headed in the University of Sussex and are glad we are able to support research in the leading edge of computational neuroscience in addition to AI,” Chris Emerson, Head of Higher-Education and Research Sales in UK and Ireland in Nvidia, said in a statement.

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