On October 7th in Switzerland, the 135 members of the Human Brain Project gathered to kick off the 10 year global project that will give us a deeper and more meaningful understanding of how the human brain operates. This project is considered the most advanced neuroscience project in the world.
The Human Brain Project’s is comprised of 130 research institutions throughout Europe and coordinated through the Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EFPL). In the launch of the project, neuroscientists, doctors, computer scientists, and roboticists will begin to refine the project in across six research platforms including neuroinformatics, brain simulation, high-performance computing, medical informatics, neuromorphic computing and neurorobotics, each composed of technological tools and methods to ensure the project’s objectives will be met.
The scientists, through their research institutions, will set up and test the platforms over the next 30 months and in 2016, these platforms should be ready for testing by the Human Brain Project scientists and researchers from around the world.
According to the press release, in the field of neuroscience for example, the researchers will have to manage enormous amounts of data. The mission of the neuroinformatics platform will be to extract the maximum amount of information possible from these sources and integrate it into a cartography that encompasses all the brain’s organizational levels, from the individual cell all the way up to the entire brain.
In terms of neurorobotics, this research platform will focus on integrating neural network simulations into robots (initially virtual ones), who will benefit from new aptitudes such as learning abilities or resiliency. Another important component will be to create neuro-inspired technologies. Microchips that can be developed to imitate how networks of neurons function and take advantage of the learning ability and resiliency of neuronal circuits in specific applications.
The project was selected by the European Union as a FET Flagship project for its complexity and then co-funded by the EU with an estimated budget of €1.2 billion.
The Human Brain Project hopes the results of the 10 year project will be information and knowledge that can be transferred into the development of new medical and information technologies.