Previous: Why Sex?
Next: Shocking Parasites Inside the Human Body



View count:662,222
Last sync:2023-01-10 20:15
The brain of luchador Hanko wants to take on the worlds fastest supercomputer, "K," in a cage match for bragging rights - which one is the most impressive information processor?

Like SciShow on Facebook:
Follow SciShow on Twitter:

References for this episode can be found in the Google document here:
Alright you guys it's time to pick some teams. 
Its a cage match between a computer and a human brain. 


In this corner, we have the human brain. Its impressively compact, unbelievably efficient and has crazy amounts of storage, and can run on the amount of power it takes to run a very dim light bulb.
And in this corner we have the most powerful supercomputer in the world. It's so incredibly fast it makes me want to punch myself in the face. And it makes your brain storage capacity look like your little sister's jewelry box. So let's run the numbers, and pray that nobody in the audience gets bloodied.

I'm getting a note here from off camera that technically we're not supposed to compare human brains and computers, like it's not something that you can technically do, which is a little disappointing considering how much time we spent on that intro.

Okay, so we can kind of compare the outputs of brains and computers so let's at least do that. The world's largest supercomputer is called K and it lives in Japan. I mean if it was in America we would call it something much more epic than that, but they were like "let's pick a letter, and that will be it". It computes about four times faster than your brain and has about ten times the storage capacity. The human brain can process the equivalent of about 2.2 megaFLOPS. I love that word megaFLOP. It sounds like what my cat does when she wants me to rub her belly. A megaFLOP is a million operations per second. So our brains are processing about 2.2 quadrillion operations per second. Which I mean when you see the stupidity of some people, it's just shocking. By contrast the K supercomputer does about 8.2 billion megaFLOPS, which is a lot more. On the other hand the K supercomputer takes about 10 thousand watts to run; by contrast our brain takes about 20 watts to run, and the K supercomputer costs tens of millions of dollars to create, where as the human brain costs literally nothing to create. The annual operating cost of the K supercomputer is 10 million dollars. The annual operating cost of your brain is Hot Pockets and Quiznos. And then you look at it pound for pound, or cubic inch for cubic inch and your brain is like the size of both your fists held together. And the K super computer uses 864 cabinets that are stretched out in a room the size of a large airplane hanger.

But it's still really difficult to compare brains and computers because they work in completely different ways. A computer has a program or set of instructions that tells it what to do, in addition to a memory that contains all the data and a processor that goes and gets the instruction and applies them to the data one at a time, in a sequence. It's all very orderly. On the other hand, a brain doesn't have separate processors and memory and programs. Each neuron in the brain can take in thousands upon thousands of inputs at a time and simultaneously independently process them and spit out the answers. Plus it modifies it's own functioning on the fly while all of this is happening in it's hundred billion or so neurons. The K super computer doesn't get anywhere close to being that cool.

So a super computer may be more powerful than a human brain, but the human brain is still a total bad ass. Brain wins!

Thank you for watching this episode of SciShow if you want more you can go ahead and subscribe at If you have suggestions or questions: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube comments. (Grunts)