Brain-imaging techniques like MRI are good for getting big pictures of the brain, tracking large general areas that activate in response to stimulus, but trying to parse that data into useful forms can be a trying task. That's why over the last couple years, neuroscience research
has begun moving in another direction, looking for a map of connections between synapses -- the connectome.
Unfortunately, with billions upon billions of connections in every brain, mapping the connections between synapses has proven much easier said than done.
However, researchers working on the Blue Brain Project -- an attempt to build a working computer model of a brain at the Swiss research institute École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne -- have reported a major step toward a working connectome.