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TUM takes part in billion euro project

Understanding the human brain

Eccerobot, ein Prototyp für neurorobtische Systeme, wie sie zur Überprüfung der im Human Brain Project entwickelten Modelle eingesetzt werden sollen. Bild: TUM
An Systemen, wie dem Eccerobot, werden die Modellvorstellungen auf ihre Umsetzbarkeit getestet. Bild: TUM

Research news

The TU München is participating in one of the first two large-scale research projects approved under the new framework "European Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) Flagship." Under the leadership of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), one of TUM's partner universities, the "Human Brain Project" (HBP) prevailed in sharp competition against other proposals. The overall costs for the ten-year European research project amount to around one billion euros. It is composed of ten sub-projects; one of these, the "Neurorobotics Platform," is coordinated by TUM together with its affiliated institute Fortis.

Extensive knowledge about the human brain and its functioning already exists but is highly fragmented. The goal of the Human Brain Project is to pull together this knowledge and to reconstruct the brain, piece by piece, in supercomputer-based models and simulations. The models offer the prospect of a new understanding of the human brain and its diseases and of completely new computing and robotic technologies.

Neurorobotics – a first feasibility test

Scientists of the Technische Universität München will coordinate the part of the project focusing on Neurorobotics. It is here that with simulated and real systems the feasibility of the conceptual models will first be tested. The systems consist of sensors for data acquisition, data-processing elements, and actuators to carry out operations. "Our tests will show if the models' basic assumptions work," says Professor Alois Knoll, Chair for Real-time Systems and Robotics at TUM. "Then other groups in the project will use our test results to refine their models."

The Neurorobotics sub-project builds on the internationally recognized expertise in robotics research at the Technische Universität München. In the domain of neuroscience as well, TUM has already proven its research strength through successful participation in the Cluster of Excellence SyNergy (Munich Cluster for Systems Neurology). The new research groups will reside at the TUM-affiliated institute FORTISS. "That we, with our partners in the Human Brain Project, could prevail in such a hard international competition is a clear affirmation of our strategy of cross-linking and integrating scientific disciplines," says TUM President Wolfgang A. Herrmann.

A worldwide brain research network

Federating more than 80 European and international research institutions and some important North American and Japanese partners, the Human Brain Project is planned to last ten years (2013-2023). The cost is estimated at 1.19 billion euros. It will be coordinated at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland, by neuroscientist Henry Markram. In the coming months, the partners will negotiate a detailed agreement with the European Community for the initial first two and a half year ramp-up phase. The project will begin work in the closing months of 2013.

Links:

Website Human Brain Project
Previous project Eccerobot
Previous project ECHORD


Das Bild zeigt Eccerobot, einen Prototypen für neurorobtische Systeme, wie sie zur Überprüfung der im Human Brain Project entwickelten Modelle eingesetzt werden sollen. Bild: TUM
Eccerobot, ein Prototyp für neurorobtische Systeme, wie sie zur Überprüfung der im Human Brain Project entwickelten Modelle eingesetzt werden sollen. Bild: TUM
Das Bild zeigt Eccerobot, einen Prototypen für neurorobtische Systeme, wie sie zur Überprüfung der im Human Brain Project entwickelten Modelle eingesetzt werden sollen. Bild: TUM