Modeling human brain intricacies
2/14/2013 4:01 PM EST
PARIS – The European Commission has unveiled an initiative to model the human brain.
The Human Brain Project (HBP) is one of two EU-based projects that will receive 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) each as part of the Future and Emerging Technologies competition. Federating more than 80 European and international research institutions, it aims to reconstruct the human brain, piece by piece, in supercomputer-based models and simulations.
The models developed in this framework are expected to offer a new understanding of the human brain, to achieve new treatments for brain diseases and to develop new computing and robotic technologies, partners said.
The HBP will be organized in three phases, lasting a total of 10 years.
For the first two and a half years, known as the “ramp-up” phase, the project will focus on setting up the initial versions of the ICT platforms and on seeding them with strategically selected data. At the end of this phase, the platforms should be ready for use by researchers inside and outside the project.
For the following four and a half years, called the “operational phase”, the project will see to generate strategic data and to add new capabilities to the platforms, while simultaneously demonstrating the value of the platforms for basic neuroscience research and for applications in medicine and future computing technology.
In the last three years, dubbed the “sustainability phase”, the project should continue these activities while simultaneously moving towards financial self-sustainability.
HBP work program aims at integrating fragmented data and research, building six ICT platforms, and accelerating research on the brain, its diseases and future computing technologies
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The total cost of the HBP is estimated to reach approximately 1,190 million euros ($1,601 million), of which 80 million euros ($107 million) for the ramp-up phase, 673 million euros ($905 million) for the operational phase and 437 million euros ($588 million) for the sustainability phase. The funding required from the European Commission amounts to about 643 million euros ($865 million).
The project is coordinated by the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, in Switzerland.
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