Google has announced its collaboration with the Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – a health research agency of the United States. Their goal is to map the specific region of the mouse brain known as the hippocampus, which accounts for approximately 2-3% of the entire brain, containing around 1 million neurons.
This project is a continuation of Google’s previous endeavor in 2020, where they released a complex map of the fruit fly brain, consisting of 25,000 neurons. The complexity of the brain does not solely rely on the number of neurons, but also on the connections. For instance, the fruit fly brain, with approximately 125,000 neurons and 10 terabytes of data, cannot be compared to the human brain, which contains a relatively small region called the hippocampus with 16,087 neurons and data size of 1.4 petabytes. It is estimated that the hippocampus of the mouse will have a data size of 25 petabytes.
The overall BRAIN initiative has a funding of $150 million, with Google’s specific contribution valued at $33 million. However, Google is not receiving any financial gains from this collaboration. Instead, they are actively participating in research and providing processing units to support the team of researchers working together.
TLDR: Google is teaming up with the NIH’s BRAIN initiative to map the hippocampus region of the mouse brain. This project builds upon Google’s previous work in mapping the fruit fly brain. The complexity of the brain is not solely determined by the number of neurons but also by the connections. The overall initiative has a funding of $150 million, with Google contributing $33 million. They are actively participating in research and offering processing units for the collaboration.