Part of EMC
Fast, Accessible Brain Simulation Tools
Functional Brain Dynamics
Dependable, secure and low-power neural implants
The NeuroComputing Lab (NCL) is a multi-disciplinary laboratory located in the Neuroscience Department of the Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, and collaborating with various university departments, research companies and institutes with a tripartite mission: To build theoretical understanding of brain networks, to provide tools and methods for advancing brain research, and to develop engineering solutions to specific neuroscience-related problems.
The Lab is coordinated by dr. ir. Christos Strydis and dr. Mario Negrello of the Neuroscience Department and keeps close connections with the department’s valorization company Neurasmus B.V. and the Erasmus MC Neurosurgery department.
Additionally, the laboratory maintains strong collaboration ties with a number of external partners including but not limited to the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, the Delft University of Technology (Netherlands), the Braininnovations joint venture, the Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden), the Okinawa Institute for Science and Technology (Japan), the National Technical University of Athens (Greece), the Italian Institute for Advanced Studies and the University of Pavia (Italy). Prominent industrial partners and supporters include: Dell Technologies (USA), Nvidia Corp. (USA), Xilinx Inc. (USA), Graphcore (UK) and Maxeler Technologies Inc. (UK).
The NCL is established as the rare superset of diverse expertises from the fields of computer engineering, (computational) neuroscience and neurocomputing. Its activities cover a broad spectrum of topics including experimental and theoretical brain exploration, biophysical simulations of brain tissue, neuroscience of motor control, advanced technological solutions for accelerating brain modeling and simulation, as well as novel approaches related to implantable medical devices (IMDs) with a strong focus on implantable neuromodulators.
NCL is also a founding lab of the cutting-edge, interdisciplinary Centre for Ultrasound and Brain Imaging at Erasmus MC (CUBE) featuring a new type of echography (functional Ultra-Sound, fUS) to visualize blood flow inside the brain. With its unique temporal and spatial properties, fUS will help neuroscientists better understand how different brain areas work together and neurosurgeons drastically improve their operational theater, for instance, via live tumor separation from healthy tissue during surgery.
NCL Research Themes
CUBE is the first dedicated ultrasound center in the world and is a multidisciplinary ensemble of three Dutch institutions united by the singular purpose of unveiling the mysteries of the human brain. CUBE is currently developing new ultrasound-probe technologies, deploying a unique High-Performance Computing (HPC) cluster for imaging and data-analytics purposes, and – finally – building dedicated neuroscience labs for fundamental research as well as portable ultrasound scanners for clinical research.
BrainFrame focuses on the creation of a Cloud-HPC simulation platform which combines heterogeneous accelerator technologies with an intuitive programming interface for technically non-savvy neuroscientists for conducting high-speed neural simulations as well as general brain experimentation. The theme currently seeks to provide a comprehensive pool of innovative technical solutions to serve neuroscientific experiments. Although concerned with a variety of efforts, the flag ship research of the theme is to develop an easy-to-use heterogeneous HPC brain simulation framework using PyNN as a front-end, the BrainFrame Framework.
The living brain is constantly active. In most brain areas, the neurons continuously communicate across large extents. An understanding of brain function passes through an understanding of the brain dynamics that becomes behavior. The exploration of functional brain dynamics attempts to shed light on the biological processes of the brain, through more accurate modeling. This research theme is mostly concentrated on the exploration of the functional brain dynamics of the Cerebellum, one of the most densely populated areas of the brain, which is concerned with the acquisition and performance of complex motor behavior.
The design, development and prototyping of secure, dependable and low-power neural implants is the objective of SiMS. As early as 2005, we have proposed the development of a new generation of medical implants following a structured design approach and incorporating core properties by design, such as security and privacy. This theme’s goal is further to evangelize the need for this new breed of implants in a rapidly changing cyber-universe riddled with an ever-increasing number of threats. Along the lines, this theme also targets the treatment of a number of tough neurological diseases such as Tinnitus, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, depression and more.