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Unveiling the relationship between brain connectivity and function by integrated photonics

Objective

I will address the fundamental question of which is the role of neuron activity and plasticity in information elaboration and storage in the brain. I, together with an interdisciplinary team, will develop a hybrid neuro-morphic computing platform. Integrated photonic circuits will be interfaced to both electronic circuits and neuronal circuits (in vitro experiments) to emulate brain functions and develop schemes able to supplement (backup) neuronal functions. The photonic network is based on massive reconfigurable matrices of nonlinear nodes formed by microring resonators, which enter in regime of self-pulsing and chaos by positive optical feedback. These networks resemble human brain. I will push this analogy further by interfacing the photonic network with neurons making hybrid network. By using optogenetics, I will control the synaptic strengthen-ing and the neuron activity. Deep learning algorithms will model the biological network functionality, initial-ly within a separate artificial network and, then, in an integrated hybrid artificial-biological network.
My project aims at:
1. Developing a photonic integrated reservoir-computing network (RCN);
2. Developing dynamic memories in photonic integrated circuits using RCN;
3. Developing hybrid interfaces between a neuronal network and a photonic integrated circuit;
4. Developing a hybrid electronic, photonic and biological network that computes jointly;
5. Addressing neuronal network activity by photonic RCN to simulate in vitro memory storage and retrieval;
6. Elaborating the signal from RCN and neuronal circuits in order to cope with plastic changes in pathologi-cal brain conditions such as amnesia and epilepsy.
The long-term vision is that hybrid neuromorphic photonic networks will (a) clarify the way brain thinks, (b) compute beyond von Neumann, and (c) control and supplement specific neuronal functions.

Field of science

  • /natural sciences/computer and information sciences/artificial intelligence/machine learning/deep learning

Call for proposal

ERC-2017-ADG
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-ADG - Advanced Grant

Host institution

UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI TRENTO
Address
Via Calepina 14
38122 Trento
Italy
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 2 499 825

Beneficiaries (1)

UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI TRENTO
Italy
EU contribution
€ 2 499 825
Address
Via Calepina 14
38122 Trento
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments