The Human Brain Project (HBP) announced the release initial versions of its six Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Platforms to users outside the Project. These Platforms are designed to help the scientific community to accelerate progress in neuroscience, medicine and computing.
The Platforms consist of prototype hardware, software tools, databases and programming interfaces, which will be refined and expanded in a collaborative approach with users, and integrated within the framework of a European Research Infrastructure. The public release of the Platforms represents the end of the Ramp-Up Phase of the HBP and the beginning of the Operational Phase.
Karlheinz Meier, Co-leader of the Neuromorphic Platform, said, “The HBP invites scientists everywhere to work with our prototype Platforms and give us their feedback. This will help us improve their functionality and ease-of-use, and hence their value to society.”
The HBP Platforms are designed to help researchers to advance faster and more efficiently, by sharing data and results, and exploiting advanced ICT capabilities. The Platforms should, for example, enable closer collaboration between scientists to create more detailed models and simulations of the brain. A first step in opening up the Platforms to the wider scientific community has already been taken, through the funding of the first HBP Partnering Projects via the EU’s FLAG-ERA 2015 Joint Transnational Call.
The six HBP platforms are:
- Neuroinformatics Platform: registration, search, analysis of neuroscience data
- Brain Simulation Platform: reconstruction and simulation of the brain
- High Performance Computing Platform: computing and storage facilities to run complex simulations and analyze large data sets
- Medical Informatics Platform: searching of real patient data to understand similarities and differences among brain diseases
- Neuromorphic Computing Platform: access to computer systems that emulate brain microcircuits and apply principles similar to the way the brain learns
- Neurorobotics Platform: testing of virtual models of the brain by connecting them to simulated robot bodies and environments
All the Platforms can be accessed via the HBP Collaboratory, a web portal where users can also find guidelines, tutorials and information on training seminars. Please note that users will need to register to access the Platforms and that some of the Platform resources have capacity limits.