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With supercomputers doing calculation in petaflops ($10^{15}$ Calculations per Second), have we crossed the speed of Human Brain?

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Related question on Cognitive Sciences: Why do scientists say brains are faster than computers? –  Nick Stauner Jul 20 '14 at 21:31

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up vote 12 down vote accepted

I will just show the statistics of last attempt to mimic the brain process.

Last year Japan launched there fastest supercomputer:

K computer OR SPARC64 VIIIfx 2.0GHz


  • Manufacturer: Fujitsu
  • Cores: 705,024
  • Linpack Performance (Rmax) 10,510 TFlop/s
  • Theoretical Peak (Rpeak) 11,280.4 TFlop/s
  • Power: 12,659.89 kW
  • Memory: 1,410,048 GB
  • Processor: SPARC64 VIIIfx 8C 2GHz
  • Operating System: Linux

It's currently world's 4th fastest supercomputer.

Source: Top 500 Supercoputers

Image Source: http://wondergressive.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/WG-k-computer.jpg


An 83,000-Processor Supercomputer Can Only Match 1% of Your Brain

...The most accurate simulation of the human brain to date has been carried out in a Japanese supercomputer, with a single second’s worth of activity from just one per cent of the complex organ taking one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers 40 minutes to calculate. Researchers used the K computer in Japan, currently the fourth most powerful in the world, to simulate human brain activity. The computer has 705,024 processor cores and 1.4 million GB of RAM, but still took 40 minutes to crunch the data for just one second of brain activity...

Source: http://gizmodo.com/an-83-000-processor-supercomputer-only-matched-one-perc-1045026757

Human Brain:

Do we have brain to spare?

by David A. Drachman, MD

Within the liter and a half of human brain, stereologic studies estimate that there are approximately 20 billion neocortical neurons, with an average of 7,000 synaptic connections each.1 The cerebral cortex has about 0.15 quadrillion synapses—or about a trillion synapses per cubic centimeter of cortex. The white matter of the brain contains approximately 150,000 to 180,000 km of myelinated nerve fibers at age 20, connecting all these neuronal elements. Despite the monumental number of components in the brain, Szentagothai estimated that each neuron is able to contact any other neuron with no more than six interneuronal connections—“six degrees of separation.”

Image Source: http://www.nature.com/polopoly_fs/7.2933.1329907514!/image/far-to-go.jpg_gen/derivatives/fullsize/far-to-go.jpg

Why Brain beats Supercomputer?

Why is it so hard for computers to reproduce what your grey matter does as a matter of course? Volume. The human brain consists of about 200 billion nerve cells (neurons) that are linked together by trillions of connections called synapses. As the tiny electrical impulses shoot across each neuron, they have to travel through these synapses, each of which contains about 1000 different switches that route that electrical impulse. In total, one human brain could contain hundreds of trillions of these neural pathways. It's like a Choose Your Own Adventure book that stretches from here to Jupiter.

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This is a great answer! –  J. Musser Jul 18 '14 at 23:13
It is not just processing speed that affects the speed of calculation. Algorithms also play a great role. I am very sure that electrical circuits have a much much faster response than the ion-current based neuronal circuits. Speed of information flow is not the sole criteria. –  WYSIWYG Jul 19 '14 at 8:01
@WYSIWYG: They have used open-source Neural Simulation Technology (NEST) = nest-initiative.org –  Devashish Das Jul 19 '14 at 15:59

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