Articles  |    |  July 1, 2019

The Human Brain Project—Synergy between neuroscience, computing, informatics, and brain-inspired technologies

Article by Katrin Amunts, Alois C. Knoll, Thomas Lippert, et al.
Published in PLOS Biology.


The Human Brain Project (HBP) is a European flagship project with a 10-year horizon aiming to understand the human brain and to translate neuroscience knowledge into medicine and technology. To achieve such aims, the HBP explores the multilevel complexity of the brain in space and time; transfers the acquired knowledge to brain-derived applications in health, computing, and technology; and provides shared and open computing tools and data through the HBP European brain research infrastructure. We discuss how the HBP creates a transdisciplinary community of researchers united by the quest to understand the brain, with fascinating perspectives on societal benefits.


To decode the multilevel brain’s complexity, the Human Brain Project (HBP) combines empirical neuroscience in the human brain and in animals with theory and modeling, relying on and developing advanced information and communication technology (ICT) including computing, big data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and simulation. The project represents a large-scale, interdisciplinary approach and consists of 12 subprojects—i.e., mouse brain organization, human brain organization, systems and cognitive neuroscience, theory, neuroinformatics, brain simulation, medical informatics, high-performance analytics and computing, neuromorphic computing, neurorobotics, administrative support, and ethics and society. Knowledge and constraints in neuroscience are drivers for developing research platforms through a codesign process. This has proven to be a very successful approach for transdisciplinary work in the HBP. Through codesign, the HBP is developing and releasing a unique European brain research infrastructure. To enable neuroethical analysis and develop, broaden, and enhance responsible research and innovation, the HBP was one of the first initiatives worldwide to establish a dedicated subproject for ethics. [ . . . ]