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Human Brain Project Launched

Eight months after its selection by the EU as one of its FET Flagships, the Human Brain Project (HBP) is underway. About 250 scientists from the 135 partner institutions involved in the project came together on 7 October 2013 for the official launch at the EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) in Switzerland, the coordinating institution. The researchers, including neuroscientists and supercomputing experts from Jülich, presented the project to the general public and, over the course of the week, fine-tuned the details of the HBP work plan for the next 30 months (ramp-up phase). The whole project, with an estimated budget of more than \euro{} 1 billion, is planned to last ten years.

The goal of the HBP is to collect all existing knowledge about the human brain and to reconstruct the brain, piece by piece, in multi-scale models and supercomputer-based simulations of these models. The resulting virtual human brain offers the prospect of a fundamentally new understanding of the brain and its diseases and of novel, brain-like computing technologies.

The HBP's initial mission is to build six research platforms, dedicated respectively to Neuroinformatics, Medical Informatics, Brain Simulation, Neuromorphic Computing, Neurorobotics, and High-Performance Computing. Over the next 30 months, scientists will set up and test the platforms. Starting in 2016, the platforms will be ready to be used by HBP scientists as well as by researchers from around the world. The resources will be available on a competitive basis, similar to other major research infrastructures such as the large telescopes used in astronomy.

JSC leads the HBP's High Performance Computing Platform subproject that will develop, build and operate the required supercomputing and data hard- and software infrastructure. A pre-exascale version of the HBP Supercomputer, the project's main production system, to be deployed at JSC in the second phase of the project, will be designed to meet the specific requirements of brain simulations such as large memory and interactivity.
(Contact: Dr. Boris Orth, b.orth@fz-juelich.de)

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