a visual representation of a mammalian neocortical column, the basic building block of the cortex. the representation shows the complexity of this part of the brain, which has now been modeled using a supercomputer. the visualization is part of an ambitious project to create a biologically accurate, functional model of the brain using IBM's Blue Gene supercomputer.
"the visualization of the neurons' shapes is a challenging task given the fact that a column of 10,000 neurons rendered in high quality mesh accounts for essentially 1 billion triangles for which about 100GB of management data is required. simulation data with a resolution of electrical compartments for each neuron accounts for another 150GB. as the electrical impulse travels through the column, neurons light up and change color as they become electrically active."