In recent years there have been multiple examples of bio-inspired systems, which have eased progress in different ICT areas. Some examples are neuronal networks for learning systems or ant algorithms used to trace optimal paths in communication networks. In this context, recent advances in data acquisition techniques about the brain’s anatomic-functional organization (for both humans and animals) have allowed the scientific community to start analyzing and understanding the brain’s structure and its cognitive and transmission processes. This offers a unique opportunity for the design of novel ICT systems inspired by the brain’s structure, as well as by its cognitive and adaptive processes. Recently, some of the main companies in the ICT sector such as IBM, Qualcomm or Intel have launched pioneering projects for the design of brain-inspired ICT systems, which indicates the importance of this research line for the ICT sector.
The current project represents an effort in this research line, which is both characterized by being ground-breaking and multidisciplinary. In particular, the BRADE consortium aims to contribute to it through the development of tools that promote an advance towards the design of computation and information processing systems for large-scale datasets (i.e., Big Data), based on the processing mechanisms used by the brain. In order to achieve this objective, novel experimental techniques, specific instrumentation and sophisticated software will be used in order to extract and process information about the brain’s anatomic-functional organization and its cognitive processes. Subsequently, complex networks theory will be applied to the analysis of the processed data in order to elaborate analytical and simulation models of the brain’s organizational structure and functional processes. These models will constitute the basis for the study and design of the aforementioned brain-inspired computation and information processing systems. In addition, these models will be a contribution of great interest and with direct application in neuroscience, contributing to expand current knowledge about the brain’s organizational structure and cognitive processes.
It should be highlighted that the research teams from the different institutions making up the BRADE consortium present a combination of knowledge and strongly multidisciplinary experience in the fields of neuroscience, the development of imaging instrumentation, the modeling of complex systems and networks, and the design of information processing ICT systems. This background provides serious guarantees for the successful completion of the BRADE project.
Furthermore, the project counts with the support and collaboration of well known national and international companies as well as universities within the ICT sector. These companies provide experience in the design of information processing systems (Alcatel Lucent Bell Labs, IBN, ZED Worldwide and Medianet), the modeling of complex systems and networks (Telefonica R&D, Orange Labs and the Computer Lab at the University of Cambridge), and the development of imaging instrumentation (4DNature). Moreover, the Network for Biomedical Mental Health Research (CIBERSAM – Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red en Salud Mental), which brings together some of the most prestigious Spanish research groups in the field of neuroscience, also collaborates on this project.
The research groups that are working on this project are the BDA group from IMDEA Networks Institute , the NETCOM Group from University Carlos III of Madrid, the NEUROCOM group from the Complutense University of Madrid and the BiiG group from the Foundation for Biomedical Research of the Gregorio Marañón Hospital (Fundación para la investigación Biomédica del Hospital Gregorio Marañón).