Dirk Helbing at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology has proposed a computer simulation of the entire planet, using real-time economic, environmental and health data. That’s right. A mega-simulation of everything (well, almost). The FuturICT Proposal explains how we know more about the universe than ourselves, and why it’s a good idea to collect massive amounts of data and use it to simulate the behavior of entire economies, in order to predict and prevent crises (such as ecomic bubbles and regime shifts).
At the other end of the spectrum, but not too far away at the other Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, since 2005, researchers are working on the Blue Brain Project, which aims to be “the first comprehensive attempt to reverse-engineer the mammalian brain, in order to understand brain function and dysfunction through detailed simulations.”
And oh, by the way, the World Wide Web also has its roots in Switzerland. Coincidence?