Unsupervised Thinking
a podcast about neuroscience, artificial intelligence and science more broadly

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Episode 1: Blue Brain/Human Brain Project

For our first episode, we discuss the Blue Brain project, or as it is now known, the Human Brain Project. The focus of this project is to understand the brain by simulating it in extreme detail. We go into the history of the project, the politics (and, boy, are there politics!), and the science of it, including what it even means to "simulate the brain in extreme detail."

To listen or dowload, click here.

If you want to learn more, HBP came out (today!) with a beast of a paper. It'll be available free online until 10/22/15 [update: it's now behind a paywall], and perhaps it addresses some of our concerns. Some more resources are here and here.

Our jazzy theme music "Quirky Dog" is courtesy of Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) 


  1. One thing that has been bothering me it's that the BBP paper doesn't seem to new. I'm not a particularly versed computational neuroscientist, but to my knowledge there where good approaches to cortical columns simulations ( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23203991?dopt=Abstract ). NEST allows for most of what the BBP paper shows, or if given least than a quarter of their funding they could have done it....Or am I too wrong?

    1. I don't know about all the details, but it wouldn't surprise me if most of what they've done in terms of simulations could be done with other software already. However it is the case that no one else has actually implemented it all, at this scale, with all the experimental data they collected to support it. So it's not a conceptual leap, but it is not trivial to actually execute it.