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Understanding The Human Brain With €1.2 Billion Human Brain Project (HBP)

First Posted: Jun 30, 2016 05:16 AM EDT

The Human Brain Project (HBP) is a €1.2 billion worth that aims to research in the fields of neuroscience, computing and brain-related medicine. It comprises of 130 research institutions in Europe and coordinated through the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EFPL) in Switzerland. It also advocates collaboration around the world.

The Neuroscience subprojects include brain organization and theory to maintain the building of more and more sophisticated models and simulations. It also involves related work in brain-like computing and robotics and laying the foundations for simulation of the much larger and more complex human brain.

The Human Brain Project (HBP) also provides the solution for experimental mapping of the brain, which turned out to be a dead end. It takes 20,000 experiments to map just one neural circuit and human brain comprises of 100 billion neurons and 100 trillion synapses. HBP resolve this by building the first human brain model. These involve neuromorphic computing systems which use the similar basic principles of cognitive architectures and computation of the brain.

They would identify the basic principles of how neurons are connected and utilize those principles to build statistical simulations. This simulation model will foresee how the particular parts of the brain are wired. The concept is to look for underlying principle that governs reverse-engineer the human brain and the brain's morphology with the help of supercomputers.

Other plans of HBP are discussed by Henry Markram, a neuroscientist, and co-director of HBP. Markram wants to amalgamate the brain simulation with a medical informatics platform. With this, the available clinical data on mental diseases from public hospitals and pharmaceutical companies would be incorporated in the simulation model. Experts then could study the subjects and patients with different conditions and provide correlations between mental diseases and biological causes.

Markram explained that the final stage would be to use this new biologically grounded classification system to create new diagnostic tools and suggest strategies for drug development and treatment.

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