Theoretical insights from mathematics can make a valuable contribution to many different areas of HBP research, from modelling of low-level biological processes, to the analysis of large-scale patterns of brain activity and the formalisation of new paradigms of computation. The HBP will thus include a cohesive programme of theoretical research addressing strategically selected themes essential to the goals of the project: mathematical techniques to produce simplified models of complex brain structures and dynamics; rules linking learning and memory to synaptic plasticity; large-scale models creating a bridge between "high-level" behavioural and imaging data; and mathematical descriptions of neural computation at different levels of brain organisation.

In addition to the plannable, cohesive theory programme implemented by the HBP partners, brain theory also needs to explore unconventional ideas, which are most likely to come from outside the current HBP Consortium. To foster interaction with outside scientists, the HBP will therefore establish a European Institute for Theoretical Neuroscience (EITN), which will work as an incubator for approaches that challenge traditional wisdom.

The main objectives of Subproject 4 for the ramp-up phase will be to i) provide models and mathematical techniques to link different model types (from detailed to simplified); ii) provide models of brain signals at different scales, from cellular to large-scale; iii) provide models of synaptic plasticity; (4) provide models of several cognitive functions, such as perception-action, attention, working memory, as well as brain states such as wakefulness and sleep; iv) extract general principles of neural computation that can guide the design and implementation of Neuromorphic Computing Systems; v) establish a European Institute for Theoretical Neuroscience to involve the theoretical community in HBP. Models generated by Subproject 4 will be complemented by additional work performed by projects responding to a competitive call - Cognitive Architectures.

What People are Saying

  • The Human Brain Project is fundamental research. We need to explore the brain and given the wide variety and richness of the data, its absolutely necessary to provide sound theoretical foundations.

    Prof. Wulfram Gerstner, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne,
    co-leader of the Thoeretical Neuroscience subproject