Meanwhile, other intensive data crunching is cogitating away with IBM's Blue Brain project, where the team has built "a rat-scale cortical model (55 million neurons, 442 billion synapses) in 8TB memory of a 32,768-processor BlueGene/L" That's a long way from the ten billion or so neurons of the human brain – 180 times smaller, in fact – but in Moore's Law terms, that's around ten years. And the researchers are most definitely looking ahead...No comment necessary.
We may have missed the starting gun, but the race to produce a full working model of the human brain has most certainly started.
Ok, one... a person in a pesistent vegetative state has the same amount of raw processing power available. The problem has never been getting enough neurons and synapses: it's been in how to arrange them, and how to get them to change themselves in a systematic and meaningful way.
If I can make an analogy... we have invented oil paints, canvas and brushes, and in sufficient quantities. We have not yet painted the Mona Lisa.