The HBP Joint Platform (HBP-JP)
A modern Research Infrastructure for Neuroscience, Medical Research, Neurorobotics and Neuromorphic Computing
The HBP develops and operates tools and services for modeling, simulation and data analytics for neuroscience, medical research, neuromorphic computing and neurorobotics. These tools and services have been offered to the scientific community since March 2016 and are regularly updated and extended. In a next step of integration these services are combined into the HBP Joint Platform, which is the incarnation of a modern information and communication technology (ICT) based research infrastructure (RI). The HBP Joint Platform (HBP-JP) is meant for everyone with an interest in neuroscience and its application to technology (researchers, industrial engineers and developers, students) to get access to and use the latest results, tools, software, hardware architectures, simulation environments and solutions that the HBP offers.
The HBP-JP is founded on the following principles:
(i) Access: The HBP-JP is accessible through a web-based portal, the collaboratory, with advanced navigation capabilities, optimized to quickly guide the different user groups to the “solution spaces” that are most relevant to them;
(ii) Collaboration: The HBP-JP encourages community co-working, e.g., one engineer working with one neuroscientist over the web in the “Collaboratory”, which is the “meeting room” for different users from different disciplines with different aims and goals, collaborating in a project.
(iii) Support: The HBP-JP supports HBP-internal and external users from neuroscience, medical research (experimental and modeling communities), neuromorphic computing and neurorobotics with respect to tools, services and data science through its High Level Support Team (HLST), that presents a coordinated interface to all of HBP’s previously separated platforms and can provide tailored interfaces to the different user communities;
(iv) Open Data: The HBP-JP provides advanced neuroinformatics technology for data exchange (upload and download) employing graph-based searchable metadata base technology with access to HBP atlases (human, rodent) as well as selected external data sources;
(v) Scaling out: The HBP Joint Platform will adopt the latest in cloud technology and provide those services through its computer centers JSC-Jülich and CSCS-Lugano together with BSC-Barcelona and CINECA-Bologna (and in the future CEA-Saclay), in particular the Europe-wide data infrastructure FENIX (FEderated Network for Information Exchange);
(vi) Future and Emerging Technologies: The HBP-JP enables access to and gives support for using latest technological developments in neuromorphic computers, neuroroboters and coming modular exascale supercomputers.
With the HBP-JP, the HBP opens the door for neuroscience towards a modern information and communication technology based research and technology development infrastructure. The HLST will provide a tangible interface to the HBP-JP for internal and external users of the HBP.
The software architecture of the HBP-JP will follow best practices in organization of service-oriented architectures used for information processing in the cloud, with clean separation of concerns between:
- the (base) infrastructure layer that is accessible through an “Infrastructure as a Service” (IaaS) interface;
- a collection of tools enabling simulation and modeling as well as data analytics workflows for neuroscience that the HBP operates as a “Platform as a Service” (PaaS);
- several key software services for data-driven brain simulations and for virtual neurorobot design and operation that are offered in form of “Software as a Service” (SaaS). HBP operates the following SaaS:
- Model driven brain simulations, from simple to the most powerful brain models, as they become available over time;
- Neurorobotics simulation and development tools across the whole workflow the of neurorobotics life cycle, including, e.g., body, brain and sensor modelers, robot and environment designers, behavior generators, virtual commissioning environments.
Tools, Services and Data
The HBP-JP consists of the following unique elements:
- Curated neuroscience data along with viewers, analysis tools, a knowledge graph and tools for data import and export that together form brain atlases for rodents and humans;
- The well-known brain simulation engines and ;
- A collection of tools to build complex, data driven brain models;
- Tools to perform neurorobotics simulations, to design and operate neurorobots;
- High-performance computing kernels and libraries specific for high-end brain simulations that run efficiently on emerging Exascale computing systems, as well as all necessary programming environments and performance tools.
- A worldwide unique neuromorphic computing hardware infrastructure offering access to learning and development timescales from milliseconds to years and providing a development system for generic cognitive computing.