Human Brain Project

The Human Brain Project is a pan-European initiative that began in October 2013 and is projected to last for ten years. The project is funded by the EU's ICT program (which support technology research) with a projected cost of one billion euros. Its aim is to help to bring together a wide range of research communities from hardware engineers to neuroscientists, programmers to philosophers so that collectively we can make significant progress in unravelling the most complicated machine known to Man: the human brain itself!

This massive project is divided into a number of different themes called pillars. Our group in Manchester is part of the neuromorphic pillar whose interest is in developing and supporting novel computer hardware which can accelerate the simulation of large neural networks. In this first phase, our aims are to:

  • Develop and improve the software running on the largest SpiNNaker machines (consisting of between 100,000 and a million simple microprocessors connected in a hexagonal grid) to allow networks of many millions of neurons to be simulated in real time.
  • Make SpiNNaker hardware available to researchers all over the world via a simple web interface so that they can run their simulations remotely
  • Use this platform here in Manchester to contribute to the research into brain function
  • Work with partners to design a test chip for a next generation SpiNNaker machine, learning from our experience with the current SpiNNaker machine and feedback from our user base. The design will be completed and the machine built in the next phase of the project

To learn more about the Human Brain Project please visit the website.