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If the Matrix or I, Robot 's view of artificial intelligence sent chilly shivers down your spine, then prepare for frostbite: IBM's artificial brain is now as smart as a cat--just a stop or two down the line from human powers. Speaking at the SC09 high-performance computing conference this week, IBM representatives from the cognitive computing team will be unveiling all the technical details behind their successes with large-scale cortical simulation and brain-like emulation. But it boils down quite neatly to news that the team has, for the first time, performed an in-computer simulation of a brain's workings at a near-instantaneous speed. The magic is all done in software, with particularly clever program elements that emulate the biochemical and electrical activity of neurons and synapses in real flesh-and-blood brains.