Re: Neuron Computational Requirements?

From: Paul Hughes (
Date: Wed Apr 19 2000 - 16:47:17 MDT

Robin Hanson wrote:

> Paul Hughes wrote:
> >So the question remains what amount of computational
> >machinery is required to replace the current role that a
> >neuron plays? Any takers?
> Here's a data point I came across recently:
> It's a 92 paper describing a simulation of one specific
> complex neuron.

Impressive! Using their somewhat simplified simulation of the most
complex neuron in the nervous system (the Purkinje), it still took their
i860 processor almost an hour to run a simulation of a single firing.
How this translates into computational requirements for the typical
neuron remains to be seen, but I think it proves that simulating a single
neuron is not a trivial task.

I argued somewhat incorrectly with Hans Moravec during his peer review of
the paper he published in the 'Transhumanist Journal', that his estimate
of of 10^15 ops/sec for the human brain may need to be adjusted upward to
account for intraneuronal complexity. However, this study would appear
to support my claim.

Paul Hughes

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