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Human Brain Project
The Brain Mind Institute at Switzerland's Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) is the only institute to have two projects in the final six, the first of which is its 'Human Brain Project' (HBP).
The proposed project would build an informatics, modelling and supercomputing infrastructure that would be capable of performing simulations of the human brain. According to the Commission, this would require research in high-performance computing and neuro-morphic computing — emulating brain circuitry — as well as brain-machine interfaces and robotics.
If it becomes one of the two winners, the EPFL would build a Facility for Brain Simulation, which would get to work on modelling the brain and running an internet-accessible 'simulation cockpit', allowing researchers from around the world to conduct virtual experiments and collaborate with one another.
Ultimately, the project aims to not only better understand the brain but to reuse some of its tricks in IT. After all, as the Commission notes, the human brain is "a very fast, massively parallel, distributed machine with negligible energy consumption (just 20-30W)", resilient to damage and very good at adaptation and prediction.
Photo credit: EPFL