Alright, I have a big problem with rdude's assertions here. Here are some reasons why the brain is not a supercomputer
, or any other kind of computer for that matter.
Computers do only what they are told: What a computer does relies completely and totally on input from users. With no input from users (either directly from terminal, or indirectly through a network device) a computer does NOTHING. If this were true for brains, then one might imagine that your brain would shut down in the absence of sensory stimulation. AFAIK, sensory deprivation of any kind does not induce coma.
Computers are static in their structure, while brains are by nature dynamic: A computer is designed, manufactured and assembled. From that point on its fundamental computational structure (e.g. the configuration of its transistors and integrated circuitry) will never change. Neurons in the brain change their structure and function all the time, from the moment they are formed in the fetus, throughout adult life and continuing until death. The fundamental structure of brains is always changing, whereas computers never change.
Computers are explicitly algorithmic, while brains are probably not: Bear with me here: Many of the digital elements of any computing system (e.g. bytes, bits, etc.) are explicitly representative of items, concepts or objects of interest to the user (e.g. words, numbers, pictures). These elements can interact in a lawful or algorithmic fashion -- this is the essence of computation. In brains however, objects and concepts are not explicitly represented -- that is as far as anyone can tell. Futhermore it has never been demonstrated (and it is probably not the case) that "processing" in the brain is remotely algorithmic. (How then does the brain do or represent anything? This is a topic for another node, but suffice it to say that the brain might be, in large part, a dynamical system.)
Computers remember EVERYTHING with perfect accuracy. Brains have a very limited accuracy : Computers store vast amounts of data in a long-term manner with perfect accuracy. Brains only remember a bare fraction of what goes on -- even in the case of vivid and intense memories. (Do you remember what you were wearing the day you graduated form high school?) Futhermore, the memories can be highly inaccurate, can degrade and can even change over time. In fact, it is a well documented psychological phenomenon that people can manufacture ficticious memories if given even the slightest suggestion (while awake, aware and sober). No computer does this.
rdude does not really make any incorrect points above, but what they tell us is that Your brain is like a supercomputer. You brain does many, many more things that a supercomputer does -- and a supercomputer can do some things that brains will never do. Your brain is a supercomputer? Its a wonderful idea, but it doesn't work.