Scientists of the University of Granada have produced a computer system that they say can simulate any part of the nervous system. The free open source software, called EDLUT, (Event Driven look-up table) can be downloaded for free from the Internet.
The system can be used to analyze and understand functions of the nervous system, for research into central nervous system diseases and for drug discovery. It can also be used to improve robots and other machines inspired by the nervous system.
The simulator was developed at the department of Architecture and Computer Technology in a Project overseen by Eduardo Ros Vidal. Unlike other simulators, EDLUT permits modelling of several hundred thousand neurons at the same time, instead of the few thousand it is possible to simulate in other systems. This is possible because the simulator compiles the behaviour of a neuron or several types of neurons in the first stage and then simulates medium-scale and large-scale neuronal systems based on these pre-compiled models.
The software can be freely downloaded through the Internet at http://code.google.com/p/edlut/. Ros Vidal has said biotech companies or other research centres are free to adapt it to their own needs.
The development of the simulator was financed by research projects including the EU’s SpikeFORCE and SENSOPAC, in which research groups in fields including neuroscience, biocomputing and electronic engineering have been working since 2002 as the basis for developing robots with similar movement skills to animals, and which can perceive and process inputs from different sensors and motors.