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The Joint Lab SMHB builds on the homonymous allied Program partnership between the Programs Supercomputing and Big Data and Decoding the Human Brain. Our interdisciplinary collaboration has pioneered a new kind of successful collaboration between neuroscience and supercomputing, and has introduced the Simulation & Data Life Cycle Lab (SDL) Neuroscience as a bridge between researchers from both fields. A recently installed Algorithms, Tools and Methods Lab (ATML) Data Processing and Deep Learning (DL) serves as another connecting element in this design to deepen collaboration with a focus on state of the art machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI).


To build on this collaboration, and transfer it to the next level, where a synergistic framework is created at the interface of supercomputing, machine learning and neuroscience, the Joint Lab will:

  • develop scalable methods for data analytics and simulation to cope with the enormous size and multiscale complexity of the brain;
  • co-design modular supercomputing, interactive supercomputing and scalable data infrastructures towards exascale through use cases from neuroscience;
  • develop, provide and maintain scalable tools for simulation, visualization, data acquisition, data management, and processing;
  • leverage machine and deep learning (developing methods that are suitable for large-scale scientific problems, learning from the brain);
  • create productive loops between theory, simulation, data analytics and empirical neuroscience.

A central element is the inclusion of the entire SDL Neuroscience. The Joint Lab SMHB will continue solving the scientific, societal and technical challenges of the digital transformation by addressing key issues with respect to the analysis, simulation and visualization of extremely large and complex datasets. It establishes a consistent data infrastructure spanning the way from the wet lab to web-based big data access, enabled by High-Performance Computing (HPC) infrastructure. The Joint Lab SMHB in its final form will be able to support other disciplines in adopting to this infrastructure. It bundles activities of the Helmholtz partners in the European Flagship Human Brain Project (HBP). Together with other communities, the HBP also helps to create a critical mass for the development of exascale use-cases for EuroHPC, a collaborative effort of European countries and the EU to advance and support exascale supercomputing and data analytics. The Joint Lab SMHB will pioneer and support research on neuro-inspired neuronal networks and HPC-based solutions as a socalled Local within Helmholtz AI, the Helmholtz Artificial Intelligence Cooperation Unit.

Planned work

To achieve its goals, supercomputing and data management expertise of the Jülich Supercomputing Centre will be linked to neuroscience research in Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine and associated partners. The Joint Lab SMHB will contribute to decode the complexity of the brain with advanced approaches for data analytics and simulations using innovative data science and HPC. Use cases will be developed to benefit the technological evolution of future computing, including neuromorphic technologies and high-performance modular supercomputing. Thus, the Joint Lab SMHB mutually fertilizes both communities: supercomputing enables new insights in neuroscience, and neuroscience in turn leads to new concepts in computing. Joining forces of the different disciplines via method- and concept-oriented cross-linking will enable interdisciplinary research at the interface between computer science, IT and brain research, and thus create opportunities for excellent research.