Video: Meet SPAUN, The Virtual Human Brain



Scientists at Canada's University of Waterloo have unveiled something they call SPAUN, which stands for Semantic Pointer Architecture Unified Network. Simply put, it's a computer simulation of a functioning human brain that is able to recognize numbers and write them down, calculate basic math equations, and even pass some IQ tests.

SPAUN contains 2.5 million virtual neurons—the human brain has 86 billion. SPAUN also has a simulated eye and a virtual arm that can draw figures.

The Vancouver Sun reports that the human-like behavior of SPAUN sets it apart from other large-scale brain models in development at labs around the world.

“Until now, the race was who could get a human-sized brain simulation running,” Eugene Izhikevich, chairman of the Brain Corporation in San Diego, Calif., told the journal Nature. “From now on, the race is more about who can get the most biological functions and animal-like behaviors. So far, SPAUN is the winner.”