The Blue Brain Project is the first comprehensive approach to simulation-based research in neuroscience. Simulations of a piece of a rat’s neocortex, i.e. 10-100,000 neurons) are regularly performed on a 16,384 core BlueGene/P with a very high level of biophysical accuracy. The detailed multi-compartment conductance-based simulations of cable equations and phenomenological ion channels (Hodgkin Huxley) require the solving of a linear system and thousands of differential equations per nerve cell. The Cluster Booster Architecture from DEEP is expected to allow the off-loading of the fairly regular differential equation calculation to the Booster, while leaving the solving of the linear system to the Cluster, accelerating the simulation to real time ratio. This off-loading will furthermore serve as a prototype framework for multi-scale simulations with even more detailed biophysics per cell.
These simulations are done by the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland.