Ropes I Know

August 11, 2008

Private Projects

Filed under: Computer, Simulation — Tags: , , , — Yeti @ 22:57

I present a list of some of the private projects (not only programming, some of them involves hardware) I’m currently working on. This blog entry will also stay here as a permanent (and – hopefully – growing) page.

When I get around to it, I will create sub-pages pointing to more information regarding the particular project, but for now I will only list them here with my working title and a short description of what they’re good for (or will be at some diffuse point in the future).

Watch the pages-entry to the right.

So here we go …


That’s the one into which I have put most of my current effort. It simulates the functioning of a (smallish) brain by mimicking the inner workings of real neurons to the extent that I thought made sense. It has an unlimited set of types of neurons, transmitters, receptors and whatnot. Axons of arbitrary length branch in the target area to form synapses with dendrites that occupy that area and the dendrites can also have an unlimited number of branches of arbitrary length. Membrane potential strength depends on distance (with dendrites) and the axons have a finite speed at which the depolarization signal propagates. It imitates a few other functions observed in real neurons.

At the moment it’s running at a speed of approximately 2 million neurons per second on my Centrino Duo @ 1.6 GHz. Since each neuron in this benchmark has 15 branches in its dendrite and 15 collaterals at its axon and is using 2 types of transmitter/receptor pairs (one exciting, one inhibitory) this is equivalent to about 0.2 billion (0.2·10^9) synaptic connections per second. Cute, eh? This would enable the program to simulate the brains of two houseflies (they’re said to have about 1 million neurons in their ‘brains’) simultaneously in real time.
[UPDATE … which is certainly complete and utter bullshit:
A ‘real’ neuron is capable of up to 500 pulses per second, so divide by a factor of 1000 to get a realistic 1/500th of a fly-brain that could be simulated …]
Featuring a simple Direct3D real-time visualization …
But the best is yet to come: I’m currently designing the genetics and a concentration-gradient based divide-grow-and-then-stretch-your-axon-and-dendrites growth scheme in order to not have to place and interconnect the neurons myself …

Optical Illusions (Optische Täuschungen)

A C# application with a collection of graphical illusions, including Cafe-Wall, (seemingly not so) Parallel Lines, (seemingly different) Length, the famous Scintillation Grid, After Motion (example, not made by me!), Motion Perception (depending on contrast, color, …) and one that I find particularly interesting that gives a striking display of your own eye movement (saccades). They’re not simple static pictures, but the user can play with different parameters and see how they affect the effect (pun intended).
I add a new one each time I realize that I know how to implement it in no more than half an hour. Also runs well with Mono under Linux.
Source available on request.


My concurrency helper classes, I mentioned them before. Developed on an as-needed basis.


Quite an ambitioned project involving a Wireless LAN receiver, a micro-controller, a stereo audio DAC and a Windows audio device driver for output over TCP/IP. You get the picture … I doubt that I will finish it in my lifetime ….

TimeMachine (Zeitmaschine)

A backup system for Windows that behaves like Apple’s Time-Machine, only better. Hosted on SourceForge but still at a very early planning stage. Uses my concurrency helpers and my (not mentioned here) NTFSUtils library.

This list is not complete and never will, for a number of reasons:

  • I have ( … gone counting … – panting heavily … ) 15 projects going at the moment that deserve to be called one. I switch focus from time to time, depending on, well, my interests.
  • Not all of them are interesting enough to be released on the public.
  • Some of them are more like finger exercises in different areas of software development and just not ripe enough.
  • Some are in a state that they are usable by me, but they are that ugly, that I do not wish to insult any reader with them.

Stay tuned …


1 Comment »

  1. […] Yeti @ 23:12 Tags: after image, optical illusions Wow, while tag-surfing during re-read of my last blog entry, I discovered […]

    Pingback by Optical Illusion « Ropes I Know — August 13, 2008 @ 14:10

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