Human Brain Project comes under fire from European researchers

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A significant number of European neuroscience researchers have written an open letter to the European Commission, expressing their concern regarding the course of the Human Brain Project (HBP).

The HBP is an EU Flagship initiative in which 112 partners from more than 20 countries are working on two fronts: firstly, to understand how the brain works; and, secondly, to replicate this functionality using electronic devices. In particular, the latter strand is looking to: develop novel neuromorphic and neurorobotic technologies based on the brain's circuitry and computing principles; and develop supercomputing technologies for brain simulation, robot and autonomous systems control and other data intensive applications. There are 13 sub projects in the HBP and sub project 9 – neuromorphic computing – features Professor Steve Furber's SpiNNaker Project, which is researching spiking neural networks using an array of ARM based processors. The signatories of the open letter say the HBP has been 'controversial and divisive' and the HBP is not on course. 'The European Commission must take a very careful look at both the science and the management of the HBP before it is renewed', they said in the letter. 'We strongly question whether the goals and implementation of the HBP are adequate to form the nucleus of the collaborative effort in Europe that will further our understanding of the brain'. For more on the Human Brain Project and Prof Furber's SpiNNaker Project, click here To read the open letter, follow the link below to