EC [WPA] Brain Project Update

Electronic Brain by 2023: E.U.’s Human Brain Project ramps up by R. Colin Johnson.

From the post:

The gist of the first year’s report is that all the pieces are assembled — all personal are hired, laboratories throughout the region engaged, and the information and communications (ICT) is in place to allow the researchers and their more than 100 academic and corporate partners in more than 20 countries to effectively collaborate and share data. Already begun are projects that reconstruct the brain’s functioning at several different biological scales, the analysis of clinical data of diseases of the brain, and the development of computing systems inspired by the brain.

The agenda for the first two and a half years (the ramp-up phase) has also been set whereby the HBP will amass all known strategic data about brain functioning, develop theoretical frameworks that fit that data, and develop the necessary infrastructure for developing six ICT platforms during the following “operational” phase circa 2017.

“Getting ready” is a fair summary of HBP Achievements Year One.

The report fails to mention the concerns of scientists threatening to boycott the project, but given the response of the EC to that letter, which could be summarized as: “…we have decided to spend the money, get in line or get out of the way,” a further response was unlikely.

No, the EC Brain Project is more in line with the WPA projects of depression era in the United States. WPA projects were employment projects first and the results of those projects, strictly a secondary concern.

No doubt some new results will come from the EU Brain Project, simply because it isn’t possible to employ that many researchers and not have some publishable results. Particularly if self-published by the project itself.

One can only hope that the project will publish a bibliography of “all known strategic data about brain functioning” as part of its research results. Just so outsiders can gauge the development of “…theoretical frameworks that fit that data.”

One suspects for less than the conference and travel costs built into this project, the EC could have purchased a site license for the entire EU to most if not all European scientific publishers. That would do more to advance scientific research in the EU than attempting to duplicate the unknown.

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