Get the software
The Virtual Brain is available as a ready-made installer for all major platforms:
- Windows (32 bit)
- Mac OS X (32 and 64 bit)
- Linux (32 and 64 bit)
The software runs on recent machines as long as you're using one of these browsers:
- Google Chrome v20 or higher
- Apple Safari v5.1 or higher
- Mozilla Firefox 14 or higher
Putting computers on a diet
Obviously, simulating a human brain even halfway realistically requires a remarkable amount of computing power. The Virtual Brain won't be immune to the well-known teraflop disease but has a remarkable edge in scalability – meaning up AND down.
Basically, the goal is to dramatically lower the barriers to access its computing power while also developing and providing less demanding incarnations for local, secluded usage.
The completely open-source architecture of The Virtual Brain is based on Python and Java – in line with lots of sister-projects in the neuroscience community.
The main system is accessible through a simple web browser, making it very easy to upload imaging data, running 3D-animated simulations in WebGL and getting results back.
By channeling communication through the browser, many scientists and doctors in laboratories and clinics can participate without having to host and run their own supercomputers.
While time-consuming model explorations must still run on several high-performance clusters available to the project team, simpler versions of The Virtual Brain can be very well executed on run-of-the-mill laptops in laboratories around the world.
Though these versions don't offer the same level of detail, they still prove useful for exploring ideas and hypotheses with ease and solitude.
Project lead Dr. Randy McIntosh talks about The Virtual Brain