brainsimAeon Magazine has published my Opinion piece on brain simulation. Go on over there and comment! Why not like me while you’re at it!!!

I’m sorry about that outburst – I got a little over-excited…

Coming soon (here) Babbage’s forgotten rival…


  1. 1. Sci says:

    Congrats Peter. Enjoyable read though I’ll have to reflect – and apparently make an account? = before commenting there.

  2. 2. Arnold Trehub says:


    Congratulations. A couple of years ago Nature ran a piece asking about the value of the Blue Brain project. This was my comment:

    “If Markram can convincingly explain how a computer model can simulate a human brain representing a volumetric space from a fixed locus of perspectival origin – the neuronal foundation of our phenomenal world -then the project might be justified. Otherwise not.”

  3. 3. ihtio says:

    We create simulations of galaxies expansions to test our hypotheses – we learn something. Nobody expects the computer to expand.
    We create simulations of climate to know how it changes, how will it change. The results are similar to what we observe in real life. Nobody expects to get wet.
    We create simulations of a small portion of a rat’s brain to check if our understanding of detailed workings of neurons in small neighbourhoods conform to what is actually happening – the results are similar to reality, so our understanding is quite ok for now. Soon, we will move further still. Nobody expects the computer to… well… I don’t have any idead what did you expect, Peter, for this simulation to do. However the scientists that work on it expected the simulation to test their assumptions, hypotheses about communication of neurons. They gained much.

  4. 4. Sergio Graziosi says:

    Way to go Peter! Congrats 🙂

  5. 5. Callan S. says:

    I’m curious as to what happens when such a simulation proposes new philosophical claims…and the claim makes sense to some humans, but the claim had never been made before?

    (I say ‘some’, because what philosophical claims have been made by humans that were accepted by absolutely everyone?)

  6. 6. Hunt says:

    I understand your point in that article. The same sort of thing struck me also when I heard about it. Perhaps the thing to ask is whether that model of investigation has ever borne fruit. For instance, has computer simulation (say of the weather), prior to theory, ever elucidated any fundamental aspects of the physical world. As a side note, the fact that the project is nearing its projected end wouldn’t impress Ray Kurzweil. The human genome project didn’t enter the significant exponential stage until near year 2000. Give that what weight as you may.

  7. 7. Hunt says:

    My previous comment in other words: Theory is nice, but simulation of theory is confirmation, not discovery. Can you discover with simulation? I say you can, under the right circumstances.

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