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The foundation is currently supporting a computer modelling centre within the Oxford University Department of Experimental Psychology.

Members of the university research centre are building a powerful parallel-processing supercomputer. This is necessary because of the immense computational expense of our neural network brain simulation models.These models typically contain hundreds of thousands of neurons and synapses which interact together. However, such models can be split up across a number of linked computers, where each computer simulates one part of the network.

The supercomputer is being constructed by linking together a cluster of MACs using Xgrid. This kind of parallel architecture is highly flexible, and allows many processing nodes to be linked together. Indeed, new machines may be easily added as they become available.

Not every computational model is easily parallelizable across a number of linked computers. However, our network models simulate the 'spiking' behaviour of real neurons. This means that the only communication between neurons is by the infrequent transmission of spikes or pulses. This low level of communication between neurons helps the computer model to be distributed efficiently over a number of computers, where each computer simulates a small portion of the network.

Illustration of computers