As a result of Billions of years of evolution, all living animals are extremely well adapted to inhabit their ecological niche. This implies species specific interaction with their immediate environment by assessing sensory cues and performing appropriate behavior. The information pathway in pattern recognition and cognitive tasks are of special interest as platform for reverse engineering. These features represent attractive guidelines for entirely new computing architectures. With a concerted effort of a multidisciplinary team from the fields of neuroscience, biology, psychology, physics, electrical engineering, material science, networks science and nonlinear dynamics, fundamental information pathways in selected nervous systems will be extensively studied with respect to their relevance as building blocks for novel, hardware-oriented computing.
Abstract models of the information processes in nervous systems represent the key link to bio-inspired electronics. Vice versa, trough the theoretical superstructure and the experimental findings in neuromorphic circuits, biologists will gain a deeper understanding of the information processing in nervous systems. This will prompt the posing of new biologically relevant questions. The key element in the biological part of the CRC 1461 is the exploration and identification of topological und dynamical phenomena in evolutionary early creatures. The interwoven mechanisms in nervous systems such, as neuronal synchrony, self-organized criticality, plasticity, connectomics and nervous system growth under external stimuli are essential components of the CRC 1461. Together with the cutting-edge technology of memristive and memsensor devices, combined with micro electro mechanical systems (MEMS) and application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) technology, the goal is to turn a new page in information technology.
In accordance to the highly interdisciplinary character of the CRC 1461, a data management infrastructure project, a science outreach project and an integrated research training group (iRTG) is being established (see Project Group: Central Projects). The iRTG encompasses a catalog of measures to enhance the scientific and personal skills of the participating doctoral researchers.
The distinct interdisciplinary character of the project and the participating scientists will prove to be a very fruitful strategy to tackle the cutting-edge science at the intersection of biology, information processing and technology. The CRC “Neurotronics: Bio-inspired Information Pathways” will explore and propel the research of novel hardware technologies as a cornerstone for novel bio-inspired computing architectures paving the way towards an unconventional information processing. We envision impacts in various research fields in science and technology, such as robotics and brain implants.