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    Quantum technology: Mapping the Human Mind

    Variousmag
    Monday, May 6, 2019 Last Updated 2020-02-23T16:42:20Z
    For all the amazing advancements that have taken place in the realm of neuroscience and cognition over the past several decades, scientists still know startlingly little about how the mind works.

    One thing we do know, however, is that the human brain is one of the most complex entities in the known universe, and that to truly understand all it can offer will require a new type of computational power.

    The human brain is composed of about 86 billion neurons—cells that communicate small bits of information by firing rapid electrical charges.

    And while the electrical underpinning of the human brain is reasonably well understood, the mind remains a mystery.

    “The challenge,” says neurobiologist Prof Rafael Yuste of Columbia University, “is precisely how to go from a physical substrate of cells that are connected inside this organ, to our mental world, our thoughts, our memories, our feelings.”

    And in their attempt to understand the mind, neuroscientists have relied heavily on the analogy of a computer, since the brain turns sensory data and inputs into relatively predictable outputs.

    And what better way to understand the workings of a computer than with a computer?

    For Dr. Ken Hayworth, a neuroscientist who maps slivers of mouse brain, “to image a whole fly brain it is going to take us approximately one to two years.

    The idea of mapping a whole human brain with the existing technology that we have today is simply impossible” without the power of quantum computing.

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