Launched in 2005, and directed by Prof Henry Markram, the EPFL‟s Blue Brain Project (BBP) is the first comprehensive attempt to use detailed modelling and simulation as tools to systematically integrate data about the brain. The key to the BBP‟s strategy is to develop the field of Predictive Neuroinformatics, aimed at accelerating data integration by using fundamental generalising principles of the brain‟s structural and functional organisation, thus filling huge gaps in knowledge. The BBP also runs a state-of-the-art multi-patch-clamp and molecular and cell biology experimental lab to validate these principles, the state of the model and the results from the simula- tions. The BBP has developed a novel suite of software, as well as the workflows that form a coherent platform for collaborative brain simulation. The BBP has published a series of more than 45 neuroscientific, theoretical, modelling and computer science papers on data integration, automated modelling and the use of supercom- puters for brain simulation, visualisation and analysis, including a paper in a prestigious IEEE journal on a novel method for visualising detailed neural models. Recently published papers revealing new insights include a paper in PNAS showing how the connectome can be informatically and algorithmically derived by following biological rules, two PLoS Computational Biology papers presenting a data-driven strategy to automatically build electri- cal models of neurons, another on objective classification of neurons, and a J. Physiology paper showing how in silico synapses match biological synapses and how intrinsic morphological diversity enables robustness and invariance of synaptic pathways. In 2008 the BBP succeeded in running the first large-scale simulation of a neo- cortical column, and at the 2012 annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN2012) it presented twenty posters on the detailed reconstruction of the neocortical column. The BBP facility already hosts an extensive programme of in silico experimentation and is evolving into a true community asset. The BBP has been declared one of Switzerland‟s three National Research Projects, and is composed of some 45 scientists and engineers.
Role in OpenMinTeD
EPFL will represent the Human Brain Project, its role in this project will be to provide the life sciences (NeuroInformatics) use cases requirements, test the platform and evaluate he corresponding interoperability in WP2 and WP9. BBP will also actively be involved in community engagement and training activities in both WP2 and WP3.