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Science & Technology

World’s First Brain-Like Super-Computer

  • 12 Nov 2018
  • 3 min read

A supercomputer which is designed to work in the same way as the human brain was switched on for the first time.

  • The supercomputer is named as Spiking Neural Network Architecture (SpiNNaker) machine.
  • It has million-processor-core and is capable of completing more than 200 million actions per second, with each of its chips having 100 million transistors.
  • The SpiNNaker machine is designed and built in The University of Manchester, UK.
  • This supercomputer was conceptualized almost 20 years ago and its construction begin in 2006.

How It Works?

  • Biological neurons are basic brain cells present in the nervous system that communicate by emitting ‘spikes’ of electrochemical energy.
  • Neuromorphic computing (electronic circuits mimicking neural-biological architecture) uses large-scale computer systems containing electronic circuits to mimic these spikes in a machine.
  • SpiNNaker is unique because it does not communicate by sending large amounts of information from point A to B via a standard network like in traditional computer but it mimics the parallel communication architecture of the brain, sending billions of small amounts of information simultaneously to thousands of different destinations.


  • The SpiNNaker machine will be capable of simulating a billion simple neurons, or millions of neurons with complex structure and internal dynamics.
  • The supercomputer will help neuroscientists better understand how the human brain works. It does this by running extremely large scale real-time simulations which simply aren’t possible on other machines.
  • SpiNNaker has been used to simulate a region of the brain called the Basal Ganglia – an area affected in Parkinson’s disease, thus it has massive potential for neurological breakthroughs in science such as pharmaceutical testing.
  • The SpiNNaker has been harnessed to control a robot, the SpOmnibot. This robot uses the SpiNNaker system to interpret real-time visual information and navigate itself towards certain objects while ignoring others.

Human Brain Project

  • Human Brain Project is an effort to construct a virtual human brain.
  • The Human Brain Project (HBP) is building a research infrastructure to help advance neuroscience, medicine, and computing.
  • It was started in October 2013 and is funded by the European Union.

Biologically-Inspired Massively Parallel Computation (BIMPC):

  • It was a five-year project, which began in March 2013, funded by the European Union.
  • Its main goal is to use the neuromorphic platform to build models of brain subsystems and of nonneural applications of the brain-inspired architecture.
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