The human brain has something like 21 billion neurons in it. But the brain of a fruit fly only has 100,000, making it rather more approachable. A team of neuroscientists at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute has therefore chosen fruit flies for their first experiments with a machine learning system that has the ability to map those connections. “We wanted to understand what neurons are doing at the cellular level,” said Kristin Branson, who led the team. That’s a task that would have taken humans about 3,800 years.
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