Public event: EBRAINS - New enabling infrastructure for neuroscience

25 November 2019 | Heidelberg, Germany





Heidelberg by plane

Heidelberg does not have its own airport, but because of its location between Frankfurt and Stuttgart, it is easily accessible by train, shuttle, rental car, or taxi.

Heidelberg by train

The main train station (Hauptbahnhof) in Heidelberg is centrally located, and it has service to both regional towns and major cities, making it easy to get to Heidelberg from anywhere in the country.

To find prices for the different trains and routes, visit the English section of the German rail website. Here you can plan your route and order tickets, as well as get information on other special offers of D Bahn. 

D Bahn also offers “Rail&Fly”, a special package purchased through your airline, which adds rail passes to your airline ticket.

From Frankfurt Airport:

The S-Bahn, regional and local trains leave Frankfurt Airport from Terminal 1, Level 1, platforms 1– 3.

From Stuttgart Airport:

The S-Bahn leaves Stuttgart Airport from Terminal 1, Level 1.

Heidelberg by shuttle transport

Lufthansa Airlines’ shuttle service from Frankfurt to Heidelberg is open for everyone, with Lufthansa passengers receiving a discount. Tickets can be reserved directly from the shuttle company by email or over the phone during business hours.



Im Neuenheimer Feld 130.1

69120 Heidelberg



By car from the Autobahn

At the Autobahnkreuz Heidelberg from the Autobahn A5, or at the Autobahnkreuz Mannheim from the A6, change onto the A656 towards Heidelberg. At the end of the Autobahn, turn left into the direction of Neuenheim/Universitätsklinikum, then turn right on Vangerowstraße. Merge directly into the right of the two lanes. Drive underneath the Neckar Bridge (Ernst Walz Brücke). Drive right, directly onto the bridge, and cross the Neckar river. Merge directly into the left lane. After the bridge, take an immediate left onto Jahnstraße. In 50 meters, the street will take a bend to the right. Then, in approximately 100 meters, you will find the entrance to the visitor parking lot 22 (P 22).

It is extremely difficult to find a parking space in Neuenheimer Feld, so we reccommend that you leave your car at the aforementioned visitor parking lot at the endtrance to Neuenheimer Feld, and from there, to walk approximately 8 minutes to the Marsilius Kolleg. You must pay for a parking space.

Don’t forget: the ticket must be paid at the window beforehand (either in the front at the gate or by the surgery) in order to be able to exit through the gate.


With public transportation from the Heidelberg Main Train Station (Hauptbahnhof)

From the main train station, enter bus number 32 towards Neuenheim, Kopfklinik. Exit at the stop „Uni-Campus“. You can also enter bus number 37 towards Sportzentrum Nord. Exit at the stop "Uni-Campus". Please make sure, that you check the timetable for possible changes. The Marsilius Kolleg is on the opposite side of the street from the bus stop, in the Marsilius Arkaden 130.1.

If you are taking the tram, use either number 21 or 24 (toward Handschuhsheim). Exit at the stop “Jahnstraße”. Cross the Berliner Straße toward Neuenheimer Feld. Follow Jahnstraße, which will bend toward the right in approximately 50 meters. Turn left on Kirschnerstraße and follow it approximately 350 meters, until you reach the Marsilius Arkaden on the left side (Im Neuenheimer Feld 130).


Entrance to the Marsilius Kolleg

The Marsilius Kolleg is located in the north tower of the Marsilius Arkaden (130.1), which is the foremost building on the complex. It lies obliquely opposite the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ). The building entrance is on the left, on the east side (towards the campus entrance). In the entryway you will find a sign with directions.

Please note that the information provided on this site has been obtained from several different sources and therefore the organisers cannot accept any responsibility for errors therein.



The Human Brain Project’s unique goal is to interconnect computer science, medicine and neuroscience to accelerate the understanding of the human brain and its diseases, and to harness that knowledge to the benefit of society. To achieve this, the Project has built EBRAINS - the world’s first integrated ICT infrastructure for brain research and development, offering growing capabilities in neuroinformatics, brain simulation, medical informatics, neuromorphic computing and neurorobotics, underpinned by high-performance analytics and computing.

This event is open to the entire scientific community and aims to introduce EBRAINS, with an overview of interdisciplinary efforts for the advance of digital neuroscience presented by HBP leadership and experts.

Attendance is free of charge, but registration is mandatory. The number of participants is limited to 100 due to on-site capacity of the venue. The event will also be accessible via web streaming.






12:00 - 13:00       

Welcome coffee and registration

13:00 - 13:10
Welcome address
Bernhard Eitel | Rector of Heidelberg University
13:10 - 13:20
Introduction to the Human Brain Project
Katrin Amunts | Forschungszentrum Jülich
13:20 - 13:45
EBRAINS - A platform for collaboration in digital neuroscience
Jan Bjaalie | University of Oslo
13:45 - 14:10
The Virtual Brain Platform: Applications in medicine and research
Petra Ritter | Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin
14:10 - 14:35
Translation of neuromorphic principles towards closed loop SNN-based sensomotoric robot controls
Rüdiger Dillmann | Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
14:35 - 15:05

Coffee break

15:05 - 15:30
Federated HPC, cloud and storage services for research in Europe
Dirk Pleiter | Forschungszentrum Jülich
15:30 - 15:55
Advances in neuromorphic computing technology
Steve Furber | The University of Manchester
15:55 - 16:20
Societal relations, neuroethics and inclusive community building
Lars Klüver | Danish Board of Technology Foundation
16:20 - 17:00
Q&A Session
All speakers





Katrin Amunts did a postdoctoral fellowship at the C. & O. Vogt Institute of Brain Research at Duesseldorf University, Germany. In 1999, she set up a new research unit for Brain Mapping at the Research Center Juelich, Germany. In 2004, she became professor for Structural-Functional Brain Mapping, and in 2008 a full professor at the Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics at the RWTH Aachen University as well as director of the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (INM-1) at the Research Center Juelich. Since 2013, she is a full professor for Brain Research, director of the C. and O. Vogt Institute of Brain Research, Heinrich-Heine University Duesseldorf and director of the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (INM-1), Research Center Juelich.

Katrin Amunts is a member of the editorial board of Brain Structure and Function. She is member of the German Ethics Council since 2012, and has been elected as vice chair in 2016. Katrin Amunts is the programme speaker of the programme Decoding the Human Brain of the Helmholtz Association, Germany. She is leading Subproject 2 Human Brain Organization of the European Flagship Project The Human Brain Project (HBP). In 2016, she has been elected as Scientific Research Director and Chair of the Science and Infrastructure Board (SIB) of the HBP. Since 2017 Katrin Amunts is co-speaker of the graduate school Max-Planck School of Cognition and since 2018 she is a member of the International Advisory Council Healthy Brains for Healthy Lives, Canada.

In order to better understand the organizational principles of the human brain, she and her team aim to develop a multi-level and multi-scale brain atlas, and use methods of high-performance computing to generate ultra-high resolution human brain models.

Lecture title: Introduction to the Human Brain Project

Jan Bjaalie, M.D., Ph.D., is professor at the Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Oslo, and Infrastructure Operations Director and leader of the Neuroinformatics Platform of the EU Human Brain Project. He was founding Executive Director of the International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility (INCF) and is currently head of the INCF Norwegian Node and member of the INCF Council for Training, Science, and Infrastructure. His research group has studied wiring patterns in the brain and developed data systems for organizing and managing heterogeneous neuroscience research data by use of a new generation of digital brain atlases. The group develops software and workflows for analysis of data integrated in the atlases (“Google maps of the brain”). Jan Bjaalie is Chief editor of Frontiers in Neuroinformatics and Section editor of Brain Structure and Function.

Lecture title: EBRAINS - A platform for collaboration in digital neuroscience

Rüdiger Dillmann received his Ph. D. from the University of Karlsruhe in 1980. Since 1987 he has been Professor of the Department of Computer Science and is Director of the Research Lab Humanoids and Intelligence Systems at KIT.  In 2002, he became the director of an innovation lab at the Research Center for Information Science (FZI), Karlsruhe. Since 2009 he has been spokesman of the Institute of Anthropomatics at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and founder of the KIT – Focus Anthropomatics and Robotics. His research interest is in the areas of humanoid robotics and neurorobotics with special emphasis on intelligent, autonomous and interactive robot behaviour based on machine learning methods and programming by demonstration (PbD). Other research interests include machine vision for mobile systems, man-machine interaction, computer-supported intervention in surgery and related simulation techniques. He is the author/co-author of more than 900 scientific publications, conference papers, several books and book contributions. Rüdiger Dillmann was Coordinator of the German Collaborative Research Center ”Humanoid Robots”, SFB 588 and several European IPs. He is the Editor of  the journal ”Robotics and Autonomous Systems”, Elsevier, and Editor in Chief of the book series COSMOS, Springer. He is an IEEE Fellow.

Lecture title: Translation of neuromorphic principles towards closed loop SSN-based sensomotoric robot controls

The long term goal of this research is to understand, to translate and to model biomorphic neural principles focusing on brain related  senso-motoric control functionalities and to ground them with the help of real robots . This involves  interdisciplinary and collaborating research as it is done within the HBP. Spiking neural networks (SNN) have the potential on  replicating real neurons reflecting parts of their biological characteristics. SNNs are capable to perform synaptic spike-based communication, they allow modeling of local brain functionalities including learning and plasticity mechanisms. We assume, that the brain is composing sensor-motor primitives as  building blocks for prediction, generation and execution of motions. The combination of neural simple motion primitives represent muscle synergies and yield towards  more complex and advanced motions.  The authors present results of their research on bio-inspired SNN control architectures capable to perform tasks like object recognition, object tracking, target reaching and grasping as well as collision- and obstacle avoidance. The experimental evaluation with a robot arm in closed loop control mode is performed without any planning algorithms nor calculation of kinematic transformations. Spiking neural network are used to represent motions in a hierarchy of motor primitives. Biologically plausible reward-learning rules based on synaptic sampling show that the SNNs are capable of learning performing policies. Neuroscientists have established links between reward-modulated synaptic plasticity and online reinforcement learning.  The hyper-parameters of this neuromodulation and their impact on performance were studied on closed-loop sensorimotor experiments. The potential of deep reinforcement learning for target reaching affects object interaction, manipulation and grasping tasks and can contribute to adapt its execution to different situations. An active binocular DVS system is used in stereo mode is driven by micro saccades.  The SNN feedback information from the DVS vision system and from proprioception are coupled for executing reaching movements and in general for motion generation.

 Future work is related to an effective use of neuromorphic vision with emphasis to eye movement, micro saccades, visual affordance learning and visual prediction. Biomorphic navigation and mapping (BSLAM) requires episodic neural memories supported by multi-scale learning capabilities.


Steve Furber, CBE FRS FREng, is ICL Professor of Computer Engineering in the School of Computer Science at the University of Manchester, UK. After completing a BA in mathematics and a PhD in aerodynamics at the University of Cambridge, UK, he spent the 1980s at Acorn Computers, where he was a principal designer of the BBC Microcomputer and the ARM 32-bit RISC microprocessor. Over 130 billion variants of the ARM processor have since been manufactured, powering much of the world's mobile and embedded computing. He moved to the ICL Chair at Manchester in 1990 where he leads research into asynchronous and low-power systems and, more recently, neural systems engineering, where the SpiNNaker project has delivered a computer incorporating a million ARM processors optimised for brain modelling applications. 

Lecture title: Advances in neuromorphic computing technology

The Human Brain Project EBRAINS infrastructure includes two Neuromorphic Computing systems that support large-scale brain modelling applications. The BrainScaleS system delivers “physical emulation” wherein analogue electronic circuits behave in a manner analogous to biological neuron and synapse dynamics, but 10,000 times faster than biology, making BrainScaleS idea for experiments in long-term learning and plasticity. The SpiNNaker system delivers “numerical simulation” wherein conventional processor cores support neuron and synapse models implemented in software, but with a brain-inspired interconnect architecture that enables real-time modelling of realistic brain circuits, which is difficult on conventional computers.

Lars Klüver has 30 years of experience in technology assessment, societal dialogue and engagement, and responsible research and innovation. He is director of the Danish Board of Technology. In the Human Brain Project he is deputy leader of the Ethics and Society sub-project, and leading the activities on Citizen Consultations and Stakeholder Engagement. In the next three years of the HBP he will be leading the Community Building, which will include creating sustainable collaboration between all types of actors for whom brain research matters.

Lecture title: Societal relations, neuroethics and inclusive community building

The HBP Ethics and Society activities ensure compliance with the rules and values in our societies. The EBRAINS Community will be developed to embrace such values by including stakeholder groups, interdisciplinarity and by having responsibility and societal benefits as central values for the community activities.

Dirk Pleiter, Prof. Dr., is leading the research group on "Application oriented technology development" at Jülich Supercomputing Centre and professor of physics at University of Regensburg. He has been involved in the Human Brain Project from its very start leading a pre-commercial procurement leading to two pilot HPC systems, which have been used for brain research. He was one of the founders of Fenix, a collaboration of European supercomputing centres for providing HPC, cloud and storage services. Since 2018 he acts as technical coordinator of the ICEI project, which led to a first implementation of the Fenix infrastructure.​

Lecture title: Federated HPC, cloud and storage services for research in Europe
The EBRAINS platform can rely on a powerful set of distributed IT infrastructure services. These include HPC, cloud and storage resources that are being provided by supercomputing centres in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland within the ICEI project. While the prime users of these infrastructure services are neuroscientists from HBP, the resources are also available to European researchers at large. In this presentation we will provide an overview of the current status and an outlook to the future.

Petra Ritter holds a life time professorship for Brain Simulation at the Charité University Medicine Berlin and the Berlin Institute of Health. Ritter is renowned for her work in personalized brain simulation by integrating multimodal brain imaging and multi-scale computational modeling. She serves in the leadership of several consortia including VirtualBrainCloud, an EU consortium of 17 partner institutions and The Virtual Brain an international neuroinformatics platform. In the Human Brain project she is leading the Codesign Project ‘The Virtual Brain’.

Lecture title: The Virtual Brain Platform - Applications in medicine and research

Creating computer models of individual human brains and simulating them. This is what The Virtual Brain neuroinformatics platform does! We will be demonstrating brain simulations and explaining how they can help to understand brain function and dysfunction. Importantly we show how a patient can benefit from this tool.

Combine this event with other HBP-related training activities!

This event is part of the HBP EBRAINS Brain Days taking place in Heidelberg from 25-28 November 2019.

These events will share coffee and lunch breaks and offer ample opportunities to get a deeper insight into the HBP Platforms and services.



Katrin Amunts (Scientific Research Director) | Forschungszentrum Jülich

Jan Bjaalie (HBP Infrastructure Operations Director) | University of Oslo



Roman Volchenkov | University of Oslo
Martina Schmalholz | Heidelberg University
Tina Kokan | Medical University Innsbruck




HEIDELBERG UNIVERSITY                                                

Im Neuenheimer Feld 130.1
69120 Heidelberg


The event will take place at the Marsilius College of the Heidelberg University. As a "Centre for Advanced Study", the Marsilius College represents one of the central measures of the University's institutional strategy. It helps the University create scientifically sustainable bridges between very different cultures (life sciences, natural sciences, social sciences, economics, law, humanities and cultural studies) in order to promote the idea of a comprehensive university of the future. The Marsilius College sees itself as a forum for exchange and innovation and also initiates and implements interdisciplinary research projects.