Question: How many gigabytes of storage does the human brain have?

Answer 1/3 1 kudos     @
Here are some estimates of the storage capacity of the brain. The estimates are given in "bits"; use a conversion factor of 1 gigabyte = 8 * 10^9 bits to convert the estimates to gigabytes (in other words, divide by 8 * 10^9):


[#1] from John von Neumann in "The Computer and the Brain" (1958):

2.8 x 10^20 bits

[#2] from Paul J. Reber, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Northwestern University:

2.2518 × 10^16 bits

[#3] from Robert Birge, Syracuse University, 1996:

2.6388 × 10^13 bits (between one and ten terabytes, with a most likely value of 3 terabytes)

[#4] from http://rnseitz.org/The_Gr eat_Gray_Raveled_Knot.htm :

6.5971 × 10^15 bits (500 to 1000 terabytes)

or

2.88 × 10^20 bits (if information stored at molecular level)
by out o'time
Answer 2/3
There's a good, recent (2012) article about this topic at http://www.slate.com/arti cles/health_and_science/e xplainer/2012/04/north_ko rea_s_2_mb_of_knowledge_t aunt_how_many_megabytes_d oes_the_human_brain_hold_ .html .

There's also a related article at http://opinionator.blogs. nytimes.com/2009/03/31/gu est-column-computers-vs-b rains .

The answer given in the first article is:

"Most computational neuroscientists tend to estimate human storage capacity somewhere between 10 terabytes and 100 terabytes, though the full spectrum of guesses ranges from 1 terabyte to 2.5 petabytes. (One terabyte is equal to about 1,000 gigabytes or about 1 million megabytes; a petabyte is about 1,000 terabytes.)"

... which is about 10^13 to 10^16 bits.
by Regulus
Answer 3/3
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