It's all about the connections

This CNN story is a bit off the wall (the title is “Brain downloads ‘possible by 2050′”); it is mostly about how the new PlayStation 3 and other modern supercomputers are approaching the computational power of the brain. From the article:

“The new PlayStation is one percent as powerful as the human brain,” Pearson told the Observer. “It is into supercomputer status compared to 10 years ago. PlayStation 5 will probably be as powerful as the human brain.”
[Pearson is “head of British Telecom’s futurology unit”.]

But is this really an accurate estimate?

We were discussing this story in lab and my advisor came up with this analysis:

PlayStation 3 has 0.3 x 10^9 transistors and runs at 3 x 10^9 Hz.
That works out to 10^18 switching operations per second.

Your brain has 10^15 synapses running at 10^3 Hz.
That also works out to 10^18 elementary operations per second.

So it’s arguable that PlayStation 3 is just as powerful as your brain,
in terms of raw computational power. We just don’t know how to organize
that power properly.