Building the first digital life form. Open source.

If the brain is a collection of electrical signals, then, if you could catalog all those those signals digitally, you might be able upload your brain into a computer, thus achieving digital immortality.

While the plausibility—and ethics—of this upload for humans can be debated, some people are forging ahead in the field of whole-brain emulation. There are massive efforts to map the connectome—all the connections in the brain—and to understand how we think. Simulating brains could lead us to better robots and artificial intelligence, but the first steps need to be simple.

So, one group of scientists started with the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans, a critter whose genes and simple nervous system we know intimately.


OpenWorm aims to build the first comprehensive computational model of the Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans), a microscopic roundworm. With only a thousand cells, it solves basic problems such as feeding, mate-finding and predator avoidance. Despite being extremely well studied in biology, this organism still eludes a deep, principled understanding of its biology.

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