Ridiculous pretense building upon pipedream smoke, this is the feeling a recent fight between computer scientists working on brain simulations seems to communicate. Two scientists have been pursuing the dream of simulating a simple mammalian brain (neurons, axons, ion channels and all) in a computer. One of them, Dharmendra Modha, says he did it, the other, Henry Markram, that the whole thing is a hoax. This, despite the fact that Modha’s project got a very significant award. Read the article and then the comments. Draw your own conclusions.
In February 2008, the National Academy of Engineering issued a grand challenge to reverse engineer the human brain, sweetening a pot neuroscientists had already been stirring for a long time. There are as many theories of mind as there are researchers working on it, and in some cases there is a real grudge match between the theorists. And maybe it’s because they’re both affiliated with IBM in some way, but it seems that none of these are more bloody than the one between IBM Almaden’s Dharmendra Modha and EPFL‘s Henry Markram.
So it wasn't strictly a surprise when Henry Markram, the lead on the EPFL Blue Brain project, took umbrage at the publicity IBM's project received last week. He sent the following letter to IBM CTO Bernard Meyerson, CCing many members of the media, including reporters from the UK Daily Mail, Die Zeit, Wired, Discover, Forbes, and me.
You told me you would string this guy up by the toes the last time Mohda made his stupid statement about simulating the mouse’s brain.
Read the rest at IEEE Spectrum: Cat Fight Brews Over Cat Brain.
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