The FET Flagship Programme is a new initiative launched by the European Commission and has awarded one billion euros, over ten years to the Human Brain Project. The leader of the project, Henry Markram, a professor of neuroscience at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale of Lausanne in Switzerland, said earlier this month that it could not be undertaken without this kind of funding.

The project will simulate ‘everything we know about the human brain’ in supercomputers. The human brain has approximately 80 billion neurons each with 10000 synaptic inputs. As I am know doubt you are aware, it is not the number of neurons that will make it work, the key to the brains cognitive power is how they are wired together, and we only know so much about that.

The project website states:

“The brain, with its billions of interconnected neurons, is without any doubt the most complex organ in the body and it will be a long time before we understand all its mysteries. The Human Brain Project proposes a completely new approach. The project is integrating everything we know about the brain into computer models and using these models to simulate the actual working of the brain. Ultimately, it will attempt to simulate the complete human brain. The models built by the project will cover all the different levels of brain organisation – from individual neurons through to the complete cortex. The goal is to bring about a revolution in neuroscience and medicine and to derive new information technologies directly from the architecture of the brain.”

You can read more about the project here.