Supercomputer Aurora 21 will map the human brain, starting in 2021

Between your ears lies a miracle of nature, with more connections than our galaxy has stars. In the past, the idea of mapping the connectome—or the interconnected neuronal pathways of the brain (the white matter), was thought impossible. Now, a group of scientists are planning to do just that. How? They plan on using an oncoming supercomputer with tremendous power. Should they be successful, it could stand as one of the greatest achievements in the history of science. And that’s just one of the project’s scientists at Argonne National Laboratory are planning, with Aurora 21 (A21).

Intel, IBM, and other tech giants are currently working together to create this mind-blowing supercomputer that’ll run a quintillion operations simultaneously. This will be the first exascale supercomputer in the US. It’s set to go live in 2021. Originally, the US Department of Energy (DOE) reported a 2023 unveiling. But when China announced it was to have its own (exascale supercomputer) by 2020, the DOE stepped up its schedule. Those involved with the project say it’s humming along and should be completed on time.

A21 will have a computing power of 1 exaflop. The US, Japan, and China have been in something of a supercomputer arms race. For now, China has the top model, the Sunway TaihuLight in Wuxi. It runs at 200 million billion petaflops. Aurora 21 will surpass this. It’s currently being built at Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Illinois.

According to Science Magazine, “IBM and its partner NVIDIA, the makers of Summit, have focused on marrying central processing units (CPUs) with graphical processing units, which are faster and more efficient for calculations involved in complex visual simulations. Intel and Cray, meanwhile, have long aimed to increase the number of CPU ‘cores’ operating in parallel and creating fast links between them.”

xonal nerve fibers in a real brain. Image credit: jgmarcelino from Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, Wikipedia Commons. 

A21 is expected to cost hundreds of millions of dollars. It’ll take up a quarter acre of land, require thousands of miles of wires, and is expected to consume enough power to light a midsize city. Experts say either China or Japan is likely to develop the world’s first exascale supercomputer, but that A21 will make sure the US keeps up with its closest competitors.

There are lots of projects on the docket already, besides mapping the connectome. Others projects include understanding how gases flow during combustion, how galaxies form, and how plasma reacts in a fusion reactor. A21 will also forecast the weather and predict how new medicines might react inside the body. In sum total, it’ll be a huge windfall for physics and science in general.

Neuroscientist Bobby Kasthuri will be a part of this connectome project, some 100 million neurons altogether, approximately. It would do so by piecing together millions of 2-dimensional images to make a 3-dimensional picture of the brain’s white matter. Kasthuri and colleagues plan on mapping a number of different brains, not just one.

They don’t know how much one will vary from the next and they’re excited to see the differences among age groups. Researchers believe the results will give us greater insights into human psychology, thinking, learning, and behavior, and help us better understand all sorts of conditions, such as autism and schizophrenia.

To hear the announcement by the DOE of the creation of this supercomputer, click here:

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Alguna vez has oído hablar del Center of Developing Child de la Universidad de Harvard?.Somos parte del selecto grupo de educadores que estudian, junto con Harvard, las formas de minimizar los daños cerebrales en la educación de los niños de 0 a 10 años ✅..Estudiamos, proponemos soluciones, entrenamos a personas y realizamos acciones 😊..Quieres saber más? Ven Avalonear ™️!

‘Geração digital’: por que, pela 1ª vez, filhos têm QI inferior ao dos pais

A Fábrica de Cretinos Digitais. Este é o título do último livro do neurocientista francês Michel Desmurget, diretor de pesquisa do Instituto Nacional de Saúde da França, em que apresenta, com dados concretos e de forma conclusiva, como os dispositivos digitais estão afetando seriamente — e para o mal — o desenvolvimento neural de crianças e jovens.

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Important though such correspondences undoubtedly are for historical purposes, and there are many of them, there is a deeper level of definition, the linguistic one, where the analysis of concepts brings a flavour of the Muslim feeling for Islam and surrender and the possibility of the contemporary Christian understanding what this meant to the Muslim, so that he could compare it with his own conceptions.It is, of course, widely known that the name of the religion of the Muslims is Islam, or al-Islam, ‘al’ being the definite article in Arabic. Islam literally means ‘submission, yielding, surrender’ – to the will of God. ‘Muslim’ means one who is so surrendered. This etymology is important, because it is not just a name, it is a meaning. If you ask many an Arab, ‘Are you a Muslim?’ he will often reply, ‘If God wills’, which is roughly equivalent in colloquial speech to ‘I hope so’. His attitude is that submission to the will of God is a matter of constant endeavour. Now we must also remember that there is a whole group of words derived from the radical SLM, which is the Arabic concept of ‘surrender’, any and all of which, almost, are associated with, regarded as inherently bound up with, each other and hence with Islam. By observing these words, we gain an idea as to the sense in which Islam has been understood by the people among whom it appeared, in their holy tongue, Arabic.Surrender, then, is ‘Islam’. Associated with this is the word Salama(t), which means ‘safety’, ‘security’. This fact is inextricably bound up in thinking with the direct relationship between submission to God and ‘safety’, that is, salvation. And Salama also stands for ‘wholeness, soundness, faultlessness’, to be made whole, safe, through submission. ‘Heaven’ is rendered by the term ‘Dar as-Salam’, the Abode of Peace, safety for man. To ‘Salaam’ a person is to wish him peace and wholeness. Salim, having been made whole, or sound, is another word from this root, like all the others an integral part of the vocabulary and daily speech of Arabic.Now that Islam is regarded as a means, a method, of arriving at peace and heaven is not in doubt either in the exegesis or in the occurrence of the word Sullam, again from the same root, which stands for an instrument or means, and including such things as a ladder or a stairway, and a tool. Finally, though this by no means exhausts our vocabulary of associated terms, there is Istilaam, which means receiving, and musaalim, one who is peaceful, lenient, clement.It is impossible to exaggerate the significance of this constellation of terms and meanings: for the Arab-speaker they constitute the constant reminder of the diverse aspects of the religion and its meanings, and a permanent facility for confirming these concepts without having to rely only upon interpretation by later ideologists.It has even been said by Muslim theoreticians that ‘Islam is a word which denotes submission to the will of God; therefore it is not a noun like the name of a thing, but a conception which is the name of a thing as well.’It is for this reason that, in the Quran, in the passage from Chapter 2, verse 136 which I quoted earlier, the sequence ends with the words which can be translated either as ‘and to God we are resigned’, or ‘we are Muslims’. Islam, as is well known, speaks of the true religious leaders, submitted to the will of God before the time of the Prophet Muhammad, as ‘Muslims’. This is not only found in the Quran; I have heard my Afghan coreligionists say, often: ‘Chi khub adam ast in Nasrani – Muslim ast.’ This means, ‘What a good man this Christian is – he is a Muslim.’ Even though these words are in Persian and not in Arabic, the sense is preserved absolutely, having been transferred successfully to an Aryan language from a Semitic one, each having very little similarity one to the other.The Quran itself cannot be translated, for this very reason: a part of the meaning will be rendered into the other language, but of course unless that language has (and this seems most unlikely) a constellation of concepts which exactly coincides with those of Arabic, the inbuilt pattern of concepts will inevitably be disturbed. I remember my own father using this very same illustration, employing the example of the radical SLM and its associations, to explain to me when I had just celebrated my eighth birthday in June, 1932. He was verifying passages from the rendition of the Quran by Muhammad Ali, and informing me why he was at that moment calling his selection ‘from the Quran’.

The Elephant in the Dark

Important though such correspondences undoubtedly are for historical purposes