Adding on to the series of technological wonders, researchers of the Institute for Theoretical Science (IGI) at Graz University of Technology are designing a new generation of neuro-computers based on the principles of calculation and learning mechanisms found in the brain, and at the same time gain new knowledge about brain learning mechanisms.
For this purpose they have been coordinating the European Union research project "Brain-i-Nets" for three years, and are conducting a three-day meeting of the participating researchers in Graz.
The human brain is no less than a computer network system. It consists of a network of several billion nerve cells. These are joined together by independent connections called synapses. Synapses are ever changing - something scientists name synaptic plasticity. This highly complex system represents a basis for independent thinking and learning. But even today there are still many unanswered questions for researchers.
"In contrast to today's computers, the brain doesn't carry out a set programme but rather is always adapting functions and reprogramming them anew. Many of these effects have not been explained," says IGI head Wolfgang Maass together with project coordinator wolfgang maass.
In co-operation with neuroscientists and physicists, and with the help of new experimental methods, they want to research the mechanisms of synaptic plasticity in the organism.