EU - BRAINSCALES - Brain-inspired multiscale computation in neuromorphic hybrid systems

Project: Research project

Project Details


The BrainScaleS project aims at understanding function and interaction of multiple spatial and temporal scales in brain information processing. The fundamentally new approach of BrainScaelS lies in the in-vivo biological experimentation and computational analysis. Spatial scales range from individual neurons over larger neuron populations to entire functional brain areas. Temporal scales range from milliseconds relevant for event based plasticity mechanisms to hours or days relevant for learning and development. In the project generic theoretical principles will be extracted to enable an artificial synthesis of cortical-like cognitive skills. Both, numerical simulations on peta-flop supercomputers and fundamentally different non-von Neumann hardware architecture will be employed for this purpose. Neurobiological data from the early perceptual visual and somato-sensory systems will be combined with data from specifically targeted higher cortical areas. Functional databases as well as novel project-specific experimental tools and protocols will be developed and used. New theoretical concepts and methods will be developed for understanding the computational role of the complex multi-scale dynamics of neural systems in-vivo. Innovative in-vivo experiments will be carried out to guide this analytical understanding. Multiscale architectures will be synthesized into a non-von Neumann computing device realized in custom designed electronic hardware. The proposed Hybrid Multi-scale Computing Facility (HMF) combines microscopic neuro-morphic physical model circuits with numerically calculated meso-scopic and macroscopic functional units and a virtual environment providing sensory, decision-making and motor interfaces. The project also plans to employ peta-flop supercomputing to obtain new insights into the specific properties of the different hardware architectures. A set of demonstration experiments will link multi-scale analysis of biological systems with functionally and architecturally equivalent synthetic systems and offer the possibility for quantitative statements on the validity of theories bridging multiple scales. The demonstration experiments will also explore non-von Neumann computing outside the realm of brain-science. BrainScaelS will establish close links with the EU Brain-i-Nets and the Blue Brain project at the EPFL Lausanne. The consortium consists of a core group of 10 partners with 13 individual groups. Together with other projects and groups the BrainScaelS consortium plans to make important contributions to the preparation of a future FET flagship project. This project will address the understanding and exploitation of information processing in the human brain as one of the major intellectual challenges of humanity with vast potential applications.
Effective start/end date1/01/1131/12/14


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