New German-Canadian lab decodes the brain with artificial intelligence

The new German-Canadian lab HIBALL aims to create a microscopic 3D map of functional neuroanatomy at the cellular level with the help of high-performance computing and artificial intelligence. The lab will be officially kicked off this Friday with a virtual satellite event at the annual Organization of Human Brain Mapping (OHBM) conference.

HIBALL is led by longtime collaborators Katrin Amunts, Scientific Research Director of the European Human Brain Project (HBP), and Alan Evans, director of Canada's Healthy Brains for Healthy Lives initiative. Guest speakers include the German Ambassador to Canada, Sabine Sparwasser, the President of the German Helmholtz Association Otmar Wiestler, Canada's Chief Scientist Remi Quirion and the newly appointed Director General of the HBP and CEO of EBRAINS, Pawel Swieboda. The event will be live-streamed on June 26 at 8:30am EDT / 2:30pm CEST.

The Helmholtz International BigBrain Analytics and Learning Laboratory (HIBALL) is a collaboration between McGill University and Forschungszentrum Jülich to develop next-generation high-resolution human brain models using cutting-edge Machine- and Deep Learning methods and high-performance computing. The lab targets application of this brain model for neuroimaging, brain-inspired AI research and multi-scale brain simulation. HIBALL is based on the high-resolution BigBrain model first published by the Jülich and McGill teams in 2013. Over the next 5 years, the lab will be funded with a total of up to 6 million Euro by the German Helmholtz Association, Forschungszentrum Jülich, and Healthy Brains, Healthy Lives at McGill University.

The initiative aims at a high level of interoperability with brain initiatives in Canada and Europe, complementing the ongoing work in the HBP and Canadian initiatives in the field of AI and brain health. The scientists draw significantly on HBP-developed infrastructure resources, like the unique functionalities of EBRAINS Multilevel Brain Atlases, and the powerful computing platform FENIX. HIBALL will intensify the collaboration of brain scientists and AI experts to accelerate progress in both fields, and furthers international collaboration between the HBP and the global science community and is set to become an official partnering project.

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