NIH Director's Pioneer Award

Summary

Principal Investigator: Kwabena Boahen
Abstract: I propose to build Neurogrid, a specialized hardware platform that will perform cortex-scale emulations while offering software-like flexibility. Recent breakthroughs in brain mapping present an unprecedented opportunity to understand how the brain works, with profound implications for society. To understand the brain, we have to interpret these richly growing observations by modeling the brain, the only way to test our understanding? since building a real brain out of biological parts is currently infeasible. Neurogrid will emulate (simulate in real-time) one million neurons connected by six billion synapses?making it possible to model vertical, horizontal and top-down cortical interactions in biophysical detail. My ability to bring this endeavor to fruition and my commitment to biomedicine is evident in my past accomplishments. Over the past eight years, my lab has designed seven neuromorphic chips that model seven neural systems?retina, cochlea, cochlear nucleus, thalamus, hippocampus, visual cortex, and retinotectal development. To pursue such diverse projects, I established productive collaborations with six colleagues in Penn?s Neuroscience Department;our work was a Scientific American cover story (May 2005). The visual cortex chip illustrates the potential of Analog VLSI: Emulating 9,216 neurons, it is 2,765 times faster than the state-of-the-art. However, neither this chip nor the other six is programmable. Neurogrid will provide programmability by augmenting Analog VLSI with Digital VLSI, a mixed-mode approach that combines the best of both worlds. While including biophysical detail in a model provides contact with experiment, programmability supports replicating manipulations, performing controls, benchmarking models, and exploring mechanism. Realizing these two critical functions without sacrificing scale will make it possible to replicate tasks laboratory animals perform in biologically realistic models for the first time, which I will do in close collaboration with two neurophysiologists (Matthew Dalva Ph.D. and William Newsome Ph.D.).
Funding Period: ----------------2006 - ---------------2011-
more information: NIH RePORT

Top Publications

  1. pmc Neurotech for neuroscience: unifying concepts, organizing principles, and emerging tools
    Rae Silver
    Psychology Department, Barnard College of Columbia University, New York, New York 10027, USA
    J Neurosci 27:11807-19. 2007
  2. ncbi A superposable silicon synapse with programmable reversal potential
    Ben V Benjamin
    Electrical Engineering and P Gao and K Boahen are with Bioengineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA
    Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc 2012:771-4. 2012
  3. pmc Design and validation of a real-time spiking-neural-network decoder for brain-machine interfaces
    Julie Dethier
    Department of Bioengineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
    J Neural Eng 10:036008. 2013
  4. pmc Space coding by gamma oscillations in the barn owl optic tectum
    Devarajan Sridharan
    Department of Neurobiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
    J Neurophysiol 105:2005-17. 2011

Scientific Experts

  • Devarajan Sridharan
  • Kwabena Boahen
  • Julie Dethier
  • Ben V Benjamin
  • Rae Silver
  • Krishna V Shenoy
  • Paul Nuyujukian
  • Stephen I Ryu
  • John V Arthur
  • Paul Merolla
  • Peiran Gao
  • Kathie L Olsen
  • Sten Grillner
  • Nancy Kopell

Detail Information

Publications4

  1. pmc Neurotech for neuroscience: unifying concepts, organizing principles, and emerging tools
    Rae Silver
    Psychology Department, Barnard College of Columbia University, New York, New York 10027, USA
    J Neurosci 27:11807-19. 2007
    ..Funding agencies, including the National Science Foundation, explore the potential of these changing frontiers of research for developing research policies and long-term planning...
  2. ncbi A superposable silicon synapse with programmable reversal potential
    Ben V Benjamin
    Electrical Engineering and P Gao and K Boahen are with Bioengineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA
    Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc 2012:771-4. 2012
    ..These shunting synapses synchronized neuronal spiking more robustly than nonshunting synapses, confirming that reversal potentials can have important network-level implications...
  3. pmc Design and validation of a real-time spiking-neural-network decoder for brain-machine interfaces
    Julie Dethier
    Department of Bioengineering, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
    J Neural Eng 10:036008. 2013
    ..In particular, intracortical prostheses must satisfy stringent power dissipation constraints so as not to damage cortex...
  4. pmc Space coding by gamma oscillations in the barn owl optic tectum
    Devarajan Sridharan
    Department of Neurobiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
    J Neurophysiol 105:2005-17. 2011
    ..Such gamma synchronized discharges of deep-layer neurons could provide a high-resolution temporal code for signaling the location of salient sensory stimuli...