2021 March Workshop


Updating the Roadmap to Whole Brain Emulation Part 7:


From Connectome to Model


This workshop has concluded.

The Carboncopies Foundation is continuing the workshop series around updating the Roadmap to Whole Brain Emulation, the first version of which was published in 2008 as the Oxford University manuscript, "Whole Brain Emulation: A Roadmap."

This upcoming workshop will continue focusing on the practical problems of model selection and model fitting with the second half of the neural modeling topic. Modeling brain function is currently done using software simulations that include representations of the dynamic processes in neurons and synapses that transform signal data obtained from experimental recordings or generated by software. The ultimate goal for Whole Brain Emulation (WBE) continues to be to achieve animal-specific or patient-specific emulation of brain activity that is needed for cognitive function and subjective cognitive experience. In other words, we can assume that a successful model will operate on spatio-temporal patterns of neural activity, and will include the ability to adapt and learn that is generally referred to as brain plasticity.

For an emulation to work there needs to be an effective procedure for modeling that which you want emulated. This means modeling neuronal population and circuit function to a point where the resulting operations on signals meet practical success criteria for brain emulation. Not only must the model effectively achieve the desired signal processing within a satisfactory envelope of neurobiologically plausible outcomes, but the model building process must be realistically feasible in time and resource consumption. The time taken, and the amount of data needed, to estimate model parameters (i.e. fitting / training) tends to increase exponentially with the number of parameters (the curse of dimensionality). Any model of a whole brain will have an extraordinarily large number of parameters. What is the best way to break down the modeling process so that the process can be completed for each part in reasonable time?

In this workshop we will discuss additional challenges, additional advancements being made, effective constraint setting, and we will attempt to outline the next crucial steps toward computational modeling in the pursuit of brain emulation.