A major challenge for neuroscience is to map accurately the spatiotemporal patterns of activity of the large neuronal populations that are believed to underlie computing in the human brain. To study a specific example, we selected the mismatch negativity (MMN) brain wave (an event-related potential, ERP) because it gives an electrophysiological index of a "primitive intelligence" capable of detecting changes, even abstract ones, in a regular auditory pattern. ERPs have a temporal resolution of milliseconds but appear to result from mixed neuronal contributions whose spatial location is not fully understood. Thus, it is important to separate these sources in space and time. To tackle this problem, a two-step approach was designed combining the independent component analysis (ICA) and low-resolution tomography (LORETA) algorithms. Here we implement this approach to analyze the subsecond spatiotemporal dynamics of MMN cerebral sources using trial-by-trial experimental data. We show evidence that a cerebral computation mechanism underlies MMN. This mechanism is mediated by the orchestrated activity of several spatially distributed brain sources located in the temporal, frontal, and parietal areas, which activate at distinct time intervals and are grouped in six main statistically independent components.