Well, as artificial intelligences go, it's no HAL, but it's definitely a step closer than we've ever been before. IBM researchers have reportedly simulated the cerebral cortex of a cat using 147,456 processors and 144 terabytes of memory.

This latest simulation, following on from 2007's simulation of a rat brain, isn't an exact copy of an actual cat cortex: It runs 100 times slower than the real thing, for one thing. Scientists created the virtual cortex as part of an ongoing study into how to make virtual intelligence more able to handle ambiguity and fuzzy data, and IBM Research's manager of cognitive computing, Dharmendra Modha, believes that his team are a decade away from being able to create a virtual human brain... at which point, we're all going to be living in Tron.

HAL's bells: IBM makes 'thinking computer' breakthrough [Independent.co.uk]