Computational Brain Science: putting computational methods to work for neuroscience


Event details

Date and time 07.04.2020 12:1513:15  
Place and room
Speaker Dr Felix Schürmann, BBP-CORE / FSV-BMI
Category Conferences - Seminars
My research is focussed on bringing the toolbox of computational science to neuroscience, aiming to provide a framework in which the brain’s multi-modal and multi-scale data can be related, completed and explored. For problems such as the building of biophysically detailed neuronal models, we were able to devise advanced optimization algorithms with novel error functions yielding some of the most faithful models. In other cases, such as the microconnectome, we developed first principle computational methods that derive dense parameters from sparse data through constraint resolution and forward computations. In yet other cases, such as the simulation of brain tissue models, our research transformed prior numerical methods and simulation schemes, making it possible to use massively parallel supercomputers efficiently. Lastly, we introduced analytical performance modelling to brain simulations, giving the first quantitative framework in which modelling decisions and computational cost implications can be understood. This research has enabled the Blue Brain Project and other groups to build some of the most detailed models of neurons and brain regions to date.

Short Bio
Felix Schürmann is adjunct professor at the Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), co-director of the Blue Brain Project and affiliated with the Brain Mind Institute. He studied physics at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, supported by the German National Academic Foundation. Later, as a Fulbright Scholar, he obtained his Master’s degree in Physics from SUNY at Buffalo, USA, on simulating quantum computers. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, under the supervision of the late Karlheinz Meier. For his thesis he co-designed an efficient implementation of a neural network in hardware. Since 2005 he is involved in EPFL’s Blue Brain Project, where he oversees all computer science research and engineering to enable reconstruction and simulation of brain tissue models at unprecedented scale and detail. Since he strongly believes that the futures of neuroscience and computing are entangled, he also directs his own research group to rethink today’s simulation capabilities and leverage neuroscience for future computing.

Practical information

  • General public
  • Free


  • School of the Life Sciences, SV


  • Dr H. Hirling, M. Mary

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