Where and how does consciousness develop?

The neuroscientist Katrin Amunts.
28 Jul 2017 Lugano - On the CSCS blog Simone Ulmer interviews Katrin Amunts, Scientific Director of the Human Brain Project (HBP). The HBP research can be summarised to: "Where and how does consciousness develop? That's what I'd really like to know." Managaging large datasets is crucial for brain research: "It needs secure data lines and a close collaboration with specialists from the computing sector to tackle large amounts of data. CSCS and Jülich have secure data forwarding in PRACE. We're in the process of setting up a European infrastructure in conjunction with Thomas Schulthess in Lugano and Thomas Lippert in Jülich so neuroscientists like me don't have to worry about where the enormous amounts of data are stored and how we can access them for analysis", Amunts says.

In 20 years, we should have computers that enable us to keep an entire human brain model in the memory on a cellular level and analyse it. In 20 years, Amunts thinks, we will have realistic simulations of a human brain at nerve cell level that factor in the most important boundary conditions. She expects that the results of simulations could well predict what the electrical activity of nerve cells and networks is like, such as if I plan a grasping movement. A simulation might also help gauge what happens if a brain region or connection malfunctions, as is the case after a stroke, for instance.

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