Comments

 

 
I applaud the EU community for supporting advances in understanding the brain and hope that the international community will continue to do so, despite the Human Brain Project. The management strategy of the HBP prevents any true integration of the complex datasets that neuroscientists have collected or any new insights in neuroscience to arise much beyond what is already known. Fortunately, this is a management issue that can be corrected if neuroscientists are at the core, rather than machine technologists. The risk is that this effort will result in an expensive repository for datasets without any real use for better understanding the brain. 
More concerning is that the claim that the human brain can be simulated in 10 years is completely unfounded, given that we currently cannot simulate how the nervous systems of simple animals work. This, unfortunately, cannot be corrected.
It would be much better to allocate the money towards neuroscience projects that have realistic and attainable objectives for understanding the brain, rather than to a technological exercise with a highly oversold claim. This should concern everyone because it is likely to jeopardize future scientific funding and sour the public opinion on what science can achieve. It is always better to be realistic with the public even if it means securing more modest funding for realistic, attainable scientific advances.

July 7, 2014, midnight
Chris Petkov. Newcastle University. United Kingdom


 
I support the open  letter to the European Comission.

July 7, 2014, 6:55 a.m.
Aldo Faisal. Imperial College London. United Kingdom


 
In a nice general idea of giving money to good labs, I think the current situation is really suboptimal, in particular concerning the organization and the scope, not the individual participants.

July 7, 2014, 8:27 a.m.
Daniele Marinazzo. University of Gent. Belgium


 
It is not to late to Cooperate..

July 7, 2014, 9:42 a.m.
Adjamah Michel. Holitic. France


 
I fully share the opinions and support the goal of this initiative!

July 7, 2014, 9:45 a.m.
Jochen Staiger. University Medicine Goettinge. Germany


 
My lab was involved in the original HBP application in Pillar 9. This was meant to be the pillar where experimental work from different levels of organization and different species would be used for checking the model's results.

The Pillar was removed from the project just before the application went in on grounds of not enough funding. 

So this is a modeling project of unprecedented scale that will not generate experimental data that could test the results of the model.

July 7, 2014, 12:17 p.m.
George Dimitriadis. Radboud University. Netherlands


 
The current project is far too narrow in its approach.  The existing implementation is not adequate to achieve the goal of making major advances in our understanding of normal and pathological brain function.  Such major funding demands a far higher quality of governance, flexibility and openness.  I strongly support individual investigator-driven grants as a means to deliver European neuroscience research.  The HBP needs to be revised as a matter of urgency.

July 7, 2014, 12:19 p.m.
Douglas Steele. University of Dundee. United Kingdom


 
There are several reasons why Europe is making a big mistake. I will not detail all of them, just one. I am a NHP neurophysiologist. How can we understand the human brain, let alone build a brain architecture without studying neural activity in relation with cognition and behavior? Yet, HBP calls specifically discourage neuroscientists from including  NHP work.
More generally, by putting such a large budget in one project (eggs in one basket), which has a philosophical and conceptual bias, EU is taking a major risk of investing in the wrong approach.
Science should be open.
Invest more in ERC-like actions which put emphasis on science.

July 7, 2014, 12:21 p.m.
Driss Boussaoud. Aix-Marseille University. France


 
It seems to me a grossly misconceived enterprise that cannot possibly succeed and will bring our field into disrepute as well as wasting a great deal of money that would be better spent on smaller and more intelligent activities. 

July 7, 2014, 1:19 p.m.
Roger Carpenter. University of Cambridge, Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience. United Kingdom


 
Neuroscience is not yet at a stage where a single comprehensive theory of the brain has emerged. The Human Brain Project proposes to accomplish this goal by unifying existing modeling tools and experimental data into an all-encompassing framework. This raises two fundamental issues. 

The first is scientific: the leadership of the Human Brain Project has no experience in creating mathematical formalisms for representation of dynamical systems on multiple temporal and spatial scales. Without such formalisms, it is very unlikely that the complexity of neural models will be manageable, and the existing ad-hoc methods for modeling will remain firmly in place. The project statement on "Mathematical and Theoretical Foundations of Brain Research" claims that the theoretical research will magically come from "outside" the Human Brain Project but this appears to be mostly magical thinking. The current organization structure makes it obvious that independent thought from outside cannot possibly penetrate the upper echelons of power of the Human Brain Project. Which brings me to my second point.

The second issue is organizational: the Blue Brain Project has earned a reputation of secrecy and extremely hierarchical authoritarian approach to scientific management, which suggests that rather than the stated goal of unbiased and objective collection of data and tools, the project is likely to result in promoting the agendas and pet project of a small group of people at the top of the hierarchy. There simply is no evidence for an open-minded and exploratory culture in the existing Blue Brain Project, and there is no chance for such culture to emerge without a complete remake of the organization structure, from pyramid to a flat decentralized structure. Without a way to promote diversity in thinking, the Human Brain Project will mostly be about control and power, rather than any meaningful scientific goals.

July 7, 2014, 2:07 p.m.
Ivan Raikov. Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology. Japan


 
The modelling aspect of the project is entirely premature, these major resources should be invested into addressing scientifically tractable questions.

July 7, 2014, 3:51 p.m.
TIbor Koos. Rutgers University. United States


 
Fully support this message.

July 7, 2014, 4:13 p.m.
Raul Gainetdinov. Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia. Italy


 
The European Human Brain Project (HBP) is a vanity project of little scientific value. These many billions of dollars would be much better spent doing almost anything else. Certainly basic scientific study of model organisms such as rat, mouse, monkey, chimp, fly, fish, bird and worm would contribute much more to the understanding of the human brain than the HBP, seemingly a paradoxic but to those of us in the field, most assuredly not. The numerical simulations that underlie the HBP have two fatal flaws: first, and most importantly, we do not know the parameters to input into the calculations, and will not before several decades of research on model organisms have been completed. Second, though they may throw some serious supercomputers at it, the computational might even of the combined forces of Europe will be comically underpowered to handle billions of neurons with many, many trillions or quadrillions of synapses. This money, largely for the first reason, will produce a glorified "garbage in, garbage out" simulation that will likely somehow be branded as a success, even if no testable predictions are produced, let alone produced and subsequently validated by experiments in the lab. Here in the US, to be sure, it is not yet certain that we will not waste our money (the BRAIN Initiative). But it seems certain that we will at least not become the scientific laughing-stock that is the HBP.

July 7, 2014, 4:20 p.m.
Loren Looger. Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Janelia Farm Research Campus. United States


 
The project is misguided for obvious long standing reasons. It has more to do with science fiction than science.

July 7, 2014, 5:12 p.m.
Charles Capaday. Paris V. France


 
There is a desperate need for more funding in neuroscience. This field has the potential to transform human knowledge and technology and make the world a better place. However, funding must be allocated sensibly, fairly and transparently. I share the concerns of the authors of this letter and welcome more careful appraisal of the HBP.

July 7, 2014, 5:20 p.m.
Timothy O'Leary. Brandeis University. United States


 
Clinical and translational brain research is a true need!

July 7, 2014, 5:24 p.m.
Ana Vasconcelos. HSM-CHLN. Portugal


 
The HBP has barely begun, and wisdom would argue that this letter is at best premature. If a reminder is needed: recall the intense response that the Human Genome Project evoked in the late 1980s (see Roberts L. 1990 " Genome backlash going full force" in Science 248: 804). Here is the synopsis that should strike a chord.

"A grass roots effort is under way to stop the genome project, the $3-billion effort to map and sequence the human genome. In a clearly orchestrated campaign, D. Allan Bromley, the President's science adviser, has been bombarded by more than 50 letters from disgruntled biologists, most of them modeled on the same letter. So has William Raub, acting director of the National Institutes of Health. Several congressmen are also on the list. And a second letter from a handful of microbiologists is now out on the Bitnet computer network, exhorting their colleagues to action--complete with a sample letter to send to their congressmen. The two letter campaigns have been under way for the past several months and are related in no small part to the funding squeeze at NIH (see page 803), though the protagonists argue larger principles...."

A potentially catastrophic scientific error was averted thanks to cooler and more visionary heads, who also realized that science does not have to be zero-sum. The Human Genome Project has certainly exceeded scientific and economic expectations. Systematic and integrated research on cognition, computation, and the human CNS can similarly be expected to yield valuable results. I sincerely hope that that the EU Commission stays the course and is not distracted from this great mission.

July 7, 2014, 5:39 p.m.
Robert W. Williams. UTHSC. United States


 
To main concerns with the current formulation of the Human Brain Project: 

1) What is the hypothesis being tested? Formulating an hypothesis to be tested, be it through laboratory or computational experiments, is a necessary first step in scientific work. 

2) How is the program to be evaluated? The lack of well-defined scientific goals makes it hard to assess whether progress is being made. 

July 7, 2014, 6:14 p.m.
Sara A Solla. Northwestern University. United States


 
The contrast between the broad ambition of understanding the human brain in health and sickness, and the narrowness of methodology and outlook within the HBP is stark.  Europe would achieve so much more if it were to make the same investment in Neuroscience through open competitive mechansims, similar to those of the European Research Council.

July 7, 2014, 8:47 p.m.
Maneesh Sahani. UCL. United Kingdom


 
Research on the human brain of this magnitude should be inclusive of all approaches and technologies that have been providing advancements on understanding the brain. The current suggested approach of a bottom up simulation is akin to trying to understand the laws of gases by simulating the collisions of an Avogadro number (6.022×10^{23}) of particles. This is unnecessary and also fruitless: there was thermodynamics before statistical mechanics and even the latter does not derive the laws of gases from simulations; it uses first principles, validated against the phenomenological theory of thermodynamics. For the brain, the approach should also be two-pronged: a top-down (from function and behavior to structure)-- "the thermodynamics" part, and a bottom up (neuronal level interactions)-- the "statistical mechanics" part. Simulations aid both directions, but they are only useful within the context of experimental evidence. 

July 7, 2014, 9:40 p.m.
Zoltan Toroczkai. University of Notre Dame. United States


 
The drivers of the Human Brain Project are few and, to a large extent, self-appointed.
The large numbers of critical voices are not being taken into consideration in determining the scientific priorities required to improve our understanding of the brain.  The efforts in the US are more considered and realistic, driven by a large number of experts and subject to more critical scrutiny by the neuroscientific community.

July 7, 2014, 11:36 p.m.
Leon Lagnado. University of Sussex. United Kingdom


 
As a researcher my life goal is to provide Humanity a better level of understanding on brain potential . I support this call on HBP because i find it relevant for global brain science advance for the common knowledge share and brain research applied as a future resource on clínical brain intervention! HBP is a beautiful project that can and should provide data in order to meet brain research milestones,or in other words , HBP must help to find the answers on questions about the wonderful brain but this goal must lay in the share of resources among the researchers that are working together as an open scientific collective intelligence solving the paradox on Brain health . The feeling of real  inclusion among neuroscience researchers must be the rule on the next HBP working  phase. Neuroscience is a wonderful research field on brain! Brain is the key for global society evolution and that variable must be the priority for the next team that will take with love and hard work HBP next research phase in order to promote real understanding and knowledge on Brain ! Brain shall be respected for the common good of Humanity !! 

July 8, 2014, 12:53 a.m.
Claudia Freire. Universidad A Coruna . Spain


 
Eu science funding in general swallows more money for administration than is left for research with funding rates below 10 %

July 8, 2014, 6:27 a.m.
Walter Paulus. Herr. Germany


 
I agree with most of the statements contained in the letter. On my side, I want to point out that the quality and relevance of knowledge is not just a matter of invested capitals. This is to say that applying to basic research (a necessary ingredient for any scientific enterprise) the management criteria of industry is uneffective.  As the present case testifies, such a policy induces the effect of choosing the wrong goals through the wrong organization. I would like that not only in this important field of research, european scientists would state clearly that the EU policy of allocating such amounts of money to research projects of this size is a  dangerous  strategy. The right criterion that science should obey is "democracy", allowing the plurality of researchers, who will, to contribute to knowledge in a free and autonomous way. In this sense, the flagship of "excellence" yields an oligarchic organization of science, that contrasts the basic principle of western democracies of allowing for and sustaining free thought. 
Unfortunately, I feel that in Brussels this oligarchic degeneration does not concern only science.
 

July 8, 2014, 7:12 a.m.
Roberto Livi. University of Florence. Italy


 
I am vigorously opposed to the HBP as this has no underlying concept, is based on the illusion that big data is sufficient to understand brain opêration and is managed and orgainsed by researchers who have not shown excellence in neuroscience. in addtion, their claim to cure brain disorders has no justification as most of them are born early in utero and the dynamic of the pathogenesis of the disease is completely ignored in the project. programmed science has repeatedly shown its limits as real discoveries are made outside these organised pland and rather than giving such high ampuns of fundigs the EU ought to put mpore money in small groups that are now dying from lack of funding and are exploring new avenues. Innovation is the key word and this is not in Big Data. 

July 8, 2014, 7:46 a.m.
yehezkel ben-ari. iNSERM. France


 
Personally, I considered applying to one of the partner-projects, but found the goal to be unclear and the decision process to be absolutely not independent, I therefore considered this would be a pure waste of time. If Europe wants to move on in this area of research, then they do not only need to focus on learning more about the human brain, but also using it to do something useful with. Generally, a lot of this work is done at a very low level, while higher level understanding may be sufficient to do other things with, e.g. neural networks have been around for ages, while we actually don't properly understand how they work in the brain. There are however other models of the how the human brain works that are at a higher level and seem to work pretty well. The project should cover more work that is around using the outcomes of or deals with creating a human brain without making a one-by-one copy of the brain itself, while still offering the same functionality. 

July 8, 2014, 9:23 a.m.
Wim Melis. University of Greenwich. United Kingdom


 
I'm worried about the bottom up approach of the human brain project which automatically sidelines any effort to see an organism embedded into its environment and, thus, makes a cognitive perspective virtually impossible from the outset. The bottom up approach will inevately bind huge amounts of resources to model tiny amounts of the brain in isolation with the hope that 50 years down the line these networks eventually represent a mouse or human brain. This apporach serves perfectly its purpose for the grant holder because that enterprise won't produce any reasonable results for any years to come and will be only meaningful for biologists working with brain slices which have been cut out of any context let alone the real environment of an organism. The blue brain project will argue that one just needs to pour endless amounts of money into this project and voila at the end we'll have a (simulated) brain. Sadly this will be bubbling in a goldfish bowl and I would reckon it will produce anytying from no activity, over "interesting" activity to epileptic activity. 
For me the only way forward is top down where we analyse on a course scale how animals interact with their environment and how this is performed on an algorithmic level, for example reinforcement learning and refining these theories because even they are still poorly understood. Even on this level we are far from understanding the processing of the brain and we still need to determine their functions. Still, we don't even know the roles of many neuromodulators. We don't know the functions of most nuclei in the brain. The top down approach has the advantage that it is more or less instantly testable and will produce results which have implications. People will be accountable instantly whereas the bottom up approach won't produce any accountable results for years to come and probably won't. The human brain project is arrogant enough that it states that it knows what needs to be included to simulate at the lowest level. 20 years down the line they will have a 'brain' and then, oops, it will just produce epileptic activity. Then they will tell the funders that they (surprise) will need to go back to their initial models and start all over.

July 8, 2014, 9:30 a.m.
Bernd Porr. University of Glasgow. United Kingdom


 
I subscribe to the view underlying this letter that computational modelling of the brain as a primary aim is a premature endeavour to pursue at the proposed scale, and that exclusion of research into high-level brain function disconnects the project too far from the existing neuroscientific knowledge base.

July 8, 2014, 9:31 a.m.
Dave Langers. University of Nottingham. United Kingdom


 
The Human Brain Project, had it followed the rhetorics by which it was announced and advertised of creating a common ground for all neuroscientists to unite, could have been a terrific opportunity for the scientific and clinical communities in a moment which looks historically posed to be remembered as a tipping point for brain research.
Unfortunately, as soon as the grant was announced the project was highjacked by technological determinism and by a mislead divisive governance, which is turning brain research into a  fetish for public opinion and decision makers alike, while obsessing with an IT R&D only agenda.
We are still in time to give the flagship back to the brain research community, following the model of those experiments which have recently proven where a shared ownership of research can lead humanity (yes, I am looking at CMS and ATLAS, as instance), but we have to act decisively and fast, without too much regard for the short term political capital invested in the PR of HBP, or we will lose the long term returns that a coopetitive (this is not a typo, but the crasis of "cooperative" and "competitive") community effort in brain and mental research could bring to all humanity.
The flagship was not meant to focus on low-hanging fruits, and the Commission should not be content with proving some menial returns can be obtained in IT industry by investing €1.2billions public money under the label "human brain". Let's prove the public we can live up to our words, scientists and politicians alike. We are stretching out our hands with this letter.

July 8, 2014, 9:34 a.m.
Marco Manca. SCImPULSE Foundation. Switzerland


 
I agree with the letter

July 8, 2014, 9:41 a.m.
Vincent Torre. SISSA. Italy


 
I think a revision of the initial plan for the HBP is necessary to provide the critical diversity of approaches and transparency currently lacking in the project.

July 8, 2014, 11:03 a.m.
Claire Wyart. Inserm/ICM. France


 
The letter says it all. 

July 8, 2014, 12:20 p.m.
David Brown. UCL. United Kingdom


 
Getting the subtleties of macromolecular interactions in just a single synapse right is already a tremendous challenge. Pretending that realistic whole-brain simulation is possible is complete poppycock, on a par with other hare-brained "in-silico whole organism" projects that have been making headlines recently.

July 8, 2014, 1:51 p.m.
Hugo van den Berg. Warwick University. United Kingdom


 
I write as a former Reader in Cybernetics, Cranfield University, UK, with specialist interests in human cognitive processes and a research and publications record extending over more than 50 years. My recent papers address the brain dynamics that underlie how consciously acquired knowledge and skills become proceduralised as processses that occur without awareness. I believe the HBP project is misguided in its aims and conceptually confused. I believe a more holistic understanding is required to appreciate how the brain - and extensions, such as tools, vehicles etc - serves as a medium (the processor) for the ongoing processes of human cognition, which themselves have developed in a social milieu.

July 8, 2014, 3:12 p.m.
Bernard Scott. Center for Sociocybernetics Research,Bonn. United Kingdom


 
The "genetic pool" of the selected projects within the Human Brain Project does not reflect the diversity of approaches in neuroscience, therefore, the evolutionary outcome will be suboptimal.
Shouldn't we scientist know better? (better than politicians for example) in devising a fair system, in which every scientist is provided with an opportunity to participate in science?

July 8, 2014, 3:31 p.m.
Serafim Rodrigues. Plymouth University. United Kingdom


 
Scientific funds have to be provided in a transparent peer-reviewed process and should guarantee scientific freedom.

July 8, 2014, 4:27 p.m.
Frank Kirchhoff. University of Saarland. Germany


 
More basic experimental research on all levels is needed to understand brain function. Modeling will hardly lead to any NEW insights.

July 8, 2014, 4:28 p.m.
Georg Nagel. Univ. Wuerzburg. Germany


 
I fully support the cause described in the letter.

Just reading the HBP Impact on their website seems surreal given my current knowledge:
"Using tools provided by the HBP, scientists will have the opportunity to identify the complex cascades of events leading from genes to cognition; to study the biological mechanisms responsible for perception, emotions, and decision-making; and to reveal the principles linking brain plasticity to learning and memory."
-> Can I have a peak at the tool that is supposed to link genes TO cognition or even anything close to that? Or is that planned for the last year of funding? ... should be enough time I guess xD

"HBP tools could even open new vistas for research into the biological mechanisms of human consciousness."
-> We do not even have much electrophysiology data (or morphology) for human brains, even less any connectivity knowledge at the cellular level, but consciousness is always a good word to just put into any proposal I guess. Why not at least call it Mouse Brain Project?Even a simulation (which reproduces at least most features of such a smaller brain) seems hard to achieve within the scope of 10 years.

July 8, 2014, 5:21 p.m.
Manuel Berning. MPI. Germany


 
Apart from all the concerns mentioned, I am concerned about science's ethics and how the HBP will make sure that every paper published related to this project is not intended to pursue publicity or prestige rather than knowledge. In other word, I am concerned about the peer-review process, which I considerer that should be addressed and fixed before starting such a huge project as the HBP. 

July 8, 2014, 5:25 p.m.
Daniela Martínez de la Mora. Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Spain


 
Understanding physiological and pathological interdependences in the biology of nerve cells should be the priority of research approaches. Computational approaches certainly can be helpful but cannot replace the above mentioned approaches.  

July 8, 2014, 5:39 p.m.
Gerhard Franz Walter. International Neuroscience Institute (INI). Germany


 
I am not eligible directly as an emeritus professor, my university and my colleagues within the research group I created and led for thirty years, are eligible

July 8, 2014, 8:03 p.m.
Steven Rose. Open University. United Kingdom


 
Simulation is an idealization of the real world and cannot replace the research on electrophysiology and real life.

July 9, 2014, 4:48 a.m.
Heliodoro Ruiperez. Retired. Spain


 
I completely agree with the content of this letter.

July 9, 2014, 5:02 a.m.
José M. Delgado-García. Universidad Pablo de Olavide. Spain


 
It is surprising that in a project whose goals are to simulate the human brain, a developmental part is totally missing. Thinking that the long childhood observed in the human species has nothing to do with the cognitive success of this species is neglecting one of the main characteristic of the studied species and of its "educated" brain. This lack of developmental studies, both in humans and animals, reveals a major scientific flaw. It misses the opportunity to understand the organizing principles of the human brain and its specificities compared to other animals, and to develop new learning algorithms based on the understanding of the mechanisms used by the fantastic learner who is the human child. 
Furthermore given the clinical and societal issues pushed forward to justify HBP, it is a strategic mistake not to include developmental studies as numerous neurologic and psychiatric diseases have their origin during development (e.g. drug addiction, autism, schizophrenia, epilepsia), and consequences of preterm births (6 to 10% of births, 15 million babies each year in the world) and of other brain insults, neural and cognitive developmental deficits (global and specific), impact of low SES on cognitive development are concerning an important percentage of our fellow citizens (e.g. 20% of the young adults are described as non-efficient readers in national French evaluations!) preventing them to obtain a correct and stable work.  Without research on human and animal brain development, it is doubtful that solutions for these problems will be proposed whereas the economic impact in the EU (and elsewhere) is huge.
Finally giving up on data acquisition is a huge mistake when the recent development of non-invasive brain imaging techniques just unlocks the access to the child brain revealing unexpected results (e.g frontal activation in infants, no specific activation to faces in the fusiform gyrus until late childhood), pointing to our ignorance of even the simplest principles which might explain how an assembly of cells can give rise to thoughts.

July 9, 2014, 7:57 a.m.
Ghislaine Dehaene-Lambertz. INSERM. France


 
Confirmamos nuestro apoyo tanto al proyecto, los fines que persigue y la transparencia en su gestión administrativa, técnica, económica y por supuesto científica, dado nuestro interés tanto en la labor científica como el resultados, logros y descubrimientos a que pudiera llegarse, así como a los profesionales comprometidos con su estudio y trabajo, debido a la magnitud y alcance de los objetivos que se persiguen.

July 9, 2014, 10:21 a.m.
Enrique Sánchez González. Ciber-Seguridad GITS Informática - España. Spain


 
The brain is not a computer but a device to interact with object and living organism and predict the effect of these interactions. 

July 9, 2014, 11:11 a.m.
Thierry Pozzo. INSERM. France


 
El cerebro trabaja con estímulos para generar procesos que modelen resultados creativos constituyentes de conocimiento. CM

July 9, 2014, 11:12 a.m.
Carlos Moreno García. Farmacia de Jauja. Spain


 
I fully support the critique concerning the Human Brain Project. 

July 9, 2014, 11:18 a.m.
Ursula Pia Jauch. University of Zurich. Switzerland


 
On the basis of todays logic and mathematics (resulting in the conception of the Turing Machine) the eligible scientists for HBP funding never be able to model processes (like learning, decision-making etc.) which are characteristic for living systems.

July 9, 2014, 1:05 p.m.
Eberhard von Goldammer. FH Dortmund. Germany


 
I totally agree with the content of the letter. The procedures have to be transparent decentralized and subject to rigorous scientific evaluation. Distributed funding is a prerequisite of scientific progress.

July 9, 2014, 3:55 p.m.
Uwe Straehle. Karlsruhe Institute of Technology . Germany


 
I support the intention of the open letter: a reallocation of funding to common peer-reviewed competitive call for grants, is crucial to not put EU neuroscience at quality levels below those of american NIH-funded grants.

July 9, 2014, 4:07 p.m.
Vasco Galhardo. Fac Medicina - Universidade do Porto. Portugal


 
Wasting tax payer's money on bad projects is not only damaging to science but to the political future of Europe, as well. 

July 9, 2014, 4:41 p.m.
Jozsef Somogyi. retired. Hungary


 
I fully support all points of the open message concerning the HBP.

July 9, 2014, 5 p.m.
Heinrich Betz. Max-Planck Institute. Germany


 
I support these recommendations. The Human Brain Project is misguided and lacks support from the broader neuroscientific community. In short, this project is vastly premature. Too little is known about the basic nature of the brain for efforts devoted to large-scale modeling to be useful. The fundamental circuitry of the brain, the basic nature of neuronal network activity, the larger-scale properties of neural networks, fundamental connectivity, dependence upon glial calcium waves, basic mechanisms of information transfer, the dynamic nature of reciprocally wired circuits, biophysical properties of the synapses, etc. are all poorly understood properties of the brain. This list could go on and on. The basic properties of neural systems need to be better understood before we attempt to model the human brain at a large scale. 

We aren't even in the proper position to create an accurate model of the entire C.elegans nervous system, as these and other basic processes are not fully properly in this organism. To propose to do it for a primate, where there is far less relevant information, is hubristic. 

This is not to say that the modeling of the human brain cannot eventually be done well, but the majority of our investment at this moment should be directed towards basic research. Much more needs to be known about its thousands, perhaps millions of distinct neural subtypes in the mammalian brain, their fundamental circuitry, cell biology, intracellular signaling, dynamic activity, emergent properties, control by neuromodulation, etc.  I would recommend that the European initiative refer to the recent U.S. brain mapping initiative, which was designed with consultation with the neuroscience community.

July 9, 2014, 7:26 p.m.
Gabriel McKinsey. University of California San Francisco. United States


 
Basically, a new understanding of physics need to be accomplished to allow the integration of quantum physics with classical physics in a single and complete worldview. Working of the brain from a physical substratum has no issue and regularly lead to the hard mind/brain open problem. There is no solution to expect if just the simulation of what we consider to be a "natural" brain  is targeted. A real achievement for a such project would not be to build or simulate a brain, but just to help us to understand what "is" a brain, what is the "minimal" brain ? What is the true logic of a set of components collectively organized ? and how should "minimally" understood a such elementary component if it exists? My personnal opinion is to go directly towards the collective/global/group/team specific laws of nature that govern the working of a set of different entities working/cooperating as a whole and always producing emerging effects. It is the obviousness of the failure of the reductionnist/mechanistics approach if not completed with the other one: the holist (of which NOTHING is known as of today) : How both eyes with a slight different point of view between them produce the emergent effect of a single unified three dimensionnal vision. In fact the key of the key of the key is the understanding of quantum physics and more precisely the unavoidable principle of superposition. In quantum physics, the logic is just purely symetric to the one of our classical world: several entities of a same category add together into a single resulting new "global" (or total ?) entity of a new nature (and of an upper hierarchical level). It is only this specific feature of integrating several items (of a same kind) in just one single resulting new item that is or should be the focus point of a such revolutionary project. And fortunately (or unfortunately I don't know) our "master" is quantum physics, because quantum physics already performs the body/mind trick during the so called quantum measurement. A Human (or in fact a Any) Brain Project cannot bypass the quantum avenue. The Any Mind Brain (or whatever) project is a purely physical project and an excellent opportunity to consolidate physics and "psychics". The law of physics applied in the brain are not only classical physics but classical physics with quantum physics. And in there the integration of both physics is really accomplished. My point of view is that simulating the brain by computers could be intellectually interresting but the real revolution in the understanding of the brain should be to use a such project to help clearly understand how the physics of the quanta operates in the brain and at the same time how the working of the brain/mind could help to understand what is really behind quantum physics if considered with classical physics. Lot of words have been told on the quantum mind paradigm, but unfortunately told by persons that didn't understood what is the quantum paradigm beyond the mathematical formalism. It holds in two words : superposition principle.

July 9, 2014, 10:32 p.m.
Patrick Barland. Academia.edu. Spain


 
The European Funding agency should do a better job of providing opportunity for serendipity by funding more of smaller ideas instead of funding a few super-ambitious and high risk projects that absorbs most of funding with very unlikely global benefit.

July 9, 2014, 10:39 p.m.
Zoltan Nadasdy. Eotvos Lorand University, NeuroTexas Institute, University of Texas. Hungary


 
They forgot the astrocytes!

July 10, 2014, 5:50 a.m.
Raphael Massarelli. University of Lyon. France


 
The brain can only be understood when we take into account its main function, the control of behavior.

July 10, 2014, 7:11 a.m.
Wilfried Kunde. University of Wuerzburg. Germany


 
I do support the open message to the EC concerning the Human Brain Project

July 10, 2014, 8:51 a.m.
Carlos Gómez-Ariza. Universidad de Jaen. Spain


 
“For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.” 
? Richard P. Feynman

July 10, 2014, 9:43 a.m.
Rodrigo Abreu. Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown. Portugal


 
I am a neuroscientist who has more than 10 years experience of collaborating with computational neuroscientists, partly on a Framework 7 European funded project.  On the basis of this experience my view is that the European Commission funded Human Brain Project is seriously misconceived from the outset.  I think there may be a logical impediment between moving from physical descriptions of neural circuits and the signals they process to an understanding of the functional computations they are performing.  The illustration I use for students is:  I will give you complete information about the connectivity in your computer and the dynamic sequence of 1's and 0's in all parts of the network.  How long do you think it would take you to figure out whether the computer was running a spreadsheet or a graphics package, or even performing the sub-processes of either, assuming you don't know what they are ?  So how is the Human Brain Project different ?

July 10, 2014, 11:39 a.m.
Peter Redgrave. University of Sheffield. United Kingdom


 
I have been firmly opposed to the funding of this ill-conceived project from its inception. It is based on a fundamental misconception of  the cellular basis of brain structure and function. Now that it has been admitted that it is an IT project, EU funding should be withdrawn as soon as possible and the enormous amount of money redeployed where it should have been spent in the first place: funding projects by young European neuroscientists chosen on the basis of originality, cogency and feasibility. 

July 10, 2014, 7:40 p.m.
Andrew Matus. FMI. Switzerland


 
Having heard Dr. Frackowiak's Keynote talk in Hamburg at HBM, I am absolutely convinced that this project is premature.  

July 10, 2014, 9:21 p.m.
John Anderson. University of Toronto. Canada


 
I support the open message to the European Commission concerning the Human Brain Project

July 11, 2014, 5:58 a.m.
Yuri Alexandrov. Institute of psychology RAS. Russia


 
I'm a IT entrepreneur, active in medical informatics. Although I'm not a neurologist, I think really bad approach to study the human brain by trying to simulate its interconnections. If an alien would try to understand our computers, he would certainly not start analysing the signals emitted by the computer, but try to understand the microprocessors and key elements. Beside of that, as an french-swiss Citizen, i'm concerned about EU investing such amount of money in a project that would have no return on investment in terms of future employment created by new industry or services. This project has to be stopped or reshapped. I see also that the HBP Management is not capable of dealing with critics and cannot answer in adequate manner to simple questions like: "why not first simulate a 400 neuron earthworm before trying to simulate the human brain"

July 11, 2014, 9:17 a.m.
Ronald Welz. WDS Technologies SA. Switzerland


 
I agree with  the letter

July 11, 2014, 10:50 a.m.
Tatiana Chernigovskaya. St. Petersburg State University. Russia


 
The modeling aspect of the HBP is certainly inappropriate and should have been handle by Professional modelers, applied mathematicians or theoretical physicists.

At a stage where interdisciplinary research seems to work, it is necessary to finance working collaborations and to promote new potential one, not through the authority of the HBP, but based on excellence, originality and diversity. 

July 11, 2014, 11:02 a.m.
David Holcman. Ecole Normale Superieure. France


 
I support the statement. 

July 11, 2014, 3:10 p.m.
Nachiket Kashikar. University of Sussex. United Kingdom


 
Apoyo el mensaje abierto a la Comisión Europea en relación con el Proyecto Cerebro Humano

July 11, 2014, 5:06 p.m.
Paula Maria Fuertes. Psychology. Spain


 
I have expressed concern about neuroscience funding generally at the expense of psychology - for example - in a non-peer-reviewed BPS newsletter: 

Bleau, R. (2014) Should neuroscience be putting psychology out in the cold?  British Psychological Society NE Branch Newsletter, 10,  24-26. 

I heard Henry Markam's presentation at the TSC 2014 conference in Tucson in April - and his focus is clearly too narrow and strategy appears ill-conceived.

July 11, 2014, 9:06 p.m.
Renee Bleau. University of Glasgow. United Kingdom


 
Almost everyone with a human brain knew from the start that the Human Brain Project was deeply flawed.

July 12, 2014, 9:26 a.m.
Herwig Baier. Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology. Germany


 
I am writing not as a researcher, but as a voting, tax-paying citizen of the EU. I strongly believe that a situation where such a significant proportion of public founding concentrates on a strongly biased research initiative, that has very little to do with studies conducted within the discipline it claims to enrich, shouldn't be taking place: Simply because of its focus bias, it may very well fail to achieve the goals it promises to deliver (necessary breakthrougs in modelling can, and in the opinion of many are more likely to come from other lines of studies). It is highly unlikely that running a high resolution simulation of the brain (which would be empirically unsound, given our current state of knowledge) will provide us with information or tools relevant for modelling the actual structure. It is opening the door to studying the simulation, at best. How will this answer any actual research questions? Studying a map approximating a terrain is hardly different from studying the actual terrain, while it is even more prone to accumulating errors resulting from biases introduced to the approximation by its draftsmen. Testing predictions derived from studying a simulation is therefore no different than testing prediction derived from studying the actual "thing". So were is the improvement for researchers here? Hypotheses would still need to be validated much the same way ther are now, only their source of research hypotheses would be different (and less reliable!). Yes, we need brain models, but from a scientific, as well as from a practical standpoint, this project focuses only on delivering a very particular one - one a substantial portion of the brain research community hardly sees a need for, and a sloppy one at that. There are good reason for the upset the Human Brain Project creates: How detailed good models really are? How detailed are the relativity theory, the laws of thermodynamics, or the theory of evolution, in comparison to the complexity of phenomena they explain? It's actually their simplicity that makes them valuable and useful. And they weren't derived by supercomputers, but human beings, using pen and paper. This would suggest that what we need is not new "brains", but making better use of the ones we already have. And that effectively, the tools the Human Brain project is developing to handle "big data" may proove to be of little use in understanding anything at all. How this initiative, reflecting extremely norrow intrests of but a small fraction of people within academia, can possess the title of a flagship scientific enerprise, is beyond comprehension.
Also, as a citizen, I believe that the fate of such vast amounts of public founds shouldn't lie in the hands of so few people, especially when these hands are not attached to a body concerned with the diversity of factual needs existing within the community the founding is dedicated to. The Human Brain Project's authority structure simply leaves little space for reassuring the founds are directed towards productive aims (even in spite of best intentions to do so). Essentially, risk management is critically underdeveloped in this operation.
I therefore fully support the call for a comprehensive review of the initiative's merit and its governance structure.

July 12, 2014, 12:49 p.m.
Zbigniew Zielinski. N/A. Poland


 
Computer modeling of the brain is a long long way from understanding how the brain works, which is the ultimate goal of brain research. Humanity would be better served by supporting the efforts of a broad diversity of independent investigators than a single mega-project with a short sighted narrow focus on a question of largely unexplored complexity.  

July 12, 2014, 3:30 p.m.
Peter Detwiler. University of Washington. United States


 
I wrote an article in German in 2011 against the project:

http://www.heise.de/tp/artikel/35/35342/1.html

July 12, 2014, 6:49 p.m.
Raul Rojas. Freie Universitaet Berlin. Germany


 
Aus meiner (methodischen) Sicht war und ist die Aufgabenstellung des Projekts HBP von Anfang an unlösbar - mindestens zum jetzigen Zeitpunkt. 
Siehe dazu: http://www.storyal.de/Story-2013/Human-Brain-Project.html

July 12, 2014, 8:34 p.m.
Jürgen Albrecht. Burg Giebichenstein - Kunsthochschule Halle. Germany


 
Exaggerated claims are the central problem of the HBP.

July 13, 2014, 11:15 a.m.
Dominique de Quervain. University of Basel, Division of Cognitive Neuroscience. Switzerland


 
We need a common shared model of how the HBP has to evolve embedding both digital and analog (wet)neuroscience.

July 13, 2014, 3:27 p.m.
Georges Otte. BVBA. Belgium


 
For €10,000,000 - €15,000,000 it would be possible to conclusively research and then to train a sufficient number professionals in at least one significant treatment, such as neurofeedback, to be of significant impact on the €2,000,000,000 annual budget allocated IN ONE EU MEMBER STATE ALONE to manage the effects of this disorder alone - a disorder treatable using neurofeedback.

By the time the long term effects - public and private - as well as savings to the public purse are realised, we might know enough about the science behind the HBP to be able to put forward a sensible project proposal. This requires at least the development of novel technologies capable to high resolute time-frequency and spatial localisation of brain signals, the development of a coherent dynamic-systems model of brain function and a new model of science aiming to provide replications to the many, many poorly designed experiments published in neuroscience journals. This may be in 100 years time.

At the moment this is a shameful and decadent waste of European tax-payers money. 

July 13, 2014, 7:21 p.m.
Mark Elliott. National University of Ireland Galway. Ireland


 
The project had interesting objectives and ideas,Unfortunately trying to "mimic' the functions of the brain(from birth till death) and in it's healthy state and in illness will be difficult when it is truly not transdisciplinary and translational.The project would better be distributed to different PI's with different objectives with a more global perspective.

July 13, 2014, 8:53 p.m.
Jafri Malin Abdullah. Center for Neuroscience Services and Research,Universiti Sains Malaysia. Malaysia


 
I consider the Markram project to be ill-conceived, specious, and based on false assumptions regarding the brain. My arguments for this view were set out in a chapter I wrote in 2012: 

Brain versus Machine. in A.H. Eden et al (eds) “Singularity Hypotheses” Springer-Verlag 
(reprint available on request). 

I am delighted to join the growing chorus of voices opposed to this project and hope action can be taken to save some of the huge sums of public money earmarked for its use.   

July 14, 2014, 9:10 a.m.
Dennis Bray. University of Cambridge. United Kingdom


 
This is "science" driven by technology and not hypothesis.
In contrast to the statement that "The HBP will make fundamental contributions to neuroscience, to medicine...", the project is not bound to significantly improve the present dismal record of much needed new CNS therapeutics. From the "translational valley of death" we are entering the "computing valley of death"

July 14, 2014, 9:34 a.m.
Andrea Cesura. Independent Consultant. Switzerland


 
Mental disorders cannot be understood as diseases of the brain or within a purely biological frame. Brain scientists should start widening their narrow vision of humanity and confront the failures of their theories in explaining health and disease. The last decade of neurosciences' research has been mostly wasted and must now be carefully evaluated and redirected toward increase value and reduce waste in "brain research". We should  no longer continue to ignore the social determinants of mental health.

July 14, 2014, 11:52 a.m.
Duncan Pedersen. Douglas Institute - McGill University. Canada


 
"Trying to understand perception by studying only neurons is like trying to understand bird flight by studying only feathers: It just cannot be done." - David Marr 

July 14, 2014, 3:52 p.m.
Ruben Ellinghaus. Univsersity of Göttingen. Germany


 
EGOCREANET  would support a transdisciplinary extension of quantum advanced science to advanve in the quantum brain communication theory based on the entanglement activity in the nano dimentioned synaptic's clefts .  So that the mprovement of the FET BRAIN project need to be better focused on quantum communicaton neuro-biology. Paolo Manzelli 2014/July/14 

July 14, 2014, 4:06 p.m.
paolo manzelli. EGOCREANET NGO in R&D c/o Busibess Incubator Unversity of Florence Italy. Italy


 
With such valuable research being conducted utilizing public funds it is critical to have transparency and limit the potential for conflict of interest. With many studies in recent memory being negated by crooked scientist it is not wise to conceal research in this secretive manner in which is it currently being dealt. The pride of the scientific community is not anonymity but it is peer reviewable, defensible, sound science. If the science is sound and defensible why the taciturn subjugation?

July 16, 2014, 6:39 a.m.
Yolanda Millender. University of Alabama at Birmingham. United States


 
Research is the collective and collaborative construction of reliable and robust new knowledge and understanding, driven by what we know we don't yet know and understand.  It needs broad consensus and open and constructive debate to be effective and worthwhile.

The breadth and quality of research determines the quality of all that uses and builds upon its outcomes.  Good quality, open, collaborative research leads to the knowledge and understanding needed to support good quality judgement and decision making in all other walks of life, and to further good research.  Poor quality overly narrow research is always a waste of time and money, and it often makes doing good research harder.

July 16, 2014, 9:46 a.m.
Tim Smithers. TSRi. Spain


 
No discipline or community should have exclusive rights to investigate the brain, or the mind, or the relation between the brain and the mind

July 17, 2014, 8:56 a.m.
Juan Lupiáñez. Universidad de Granada. Spain


 
As a clinical neuroscientist I am convinced that the human brain project does not succeed. The ressources should be used for more promising research in clinical neuroscience

July 17, 2014, 9:39 a.m.
Volker Dietz. University of Zürich. Switzerland


 
My critique of the HBP I have expressed in my paper published in arXiv 1401.4127

July 17, 2014, 4:36 p.m.
Emanuel Diamant. VIDIA-mant. Israel


 
The universe is revealing us an ever increasing complexity that quickly is escaping the grasp of our analytic mind. Even our personal life, which is manifestly influenced by the very same scientific and technological revolution, has become increasingly complex to such a degree that it is unlikely it will remain still controllable for a long time by the same means. At some point a civilization which drives itself towards an ever increasing complexity is doomed to a collapse, or relapse. The idea to simulate an entire human brain is a vain chimera, a waste of money and human resources that could be used in much more intelligent and useful small scale project instead of a mammoth big science project doomed to failure. We should double our spending for science. But into the right ones and especially in the right manner. What about spending several smaller amounts of money in many risky projects than huge amounts into mainstream ones? It is a paradox that now it has become easier to get mi-bi-trillions funds for conventionally accepted lines of research, than few thousand dollars for small and cheap original projects. It is sometimes almost impossible to get only 50.000$ for a postdoc, working on a little but novel and original nontraditional line of research, just because it is new (i.e. risky), original (i.e. of uncertain outcome), and non-mainstream (read: it is about giving out money to the ‘black sheep’ who does not bleat with the flock). Also statistical and historic studies suggest how the scientific impact per dollar is lower for large grant-holders, and that the hypothesis that larger grants lead to larger discoveries is inconsistent. We should reconsider this mania for stratospheric projects. It is not about abolishing entirely big science, which might still be unavoidable in some fields, but it is about rediscovering the potentials of the individual scientist.

July 18, 2014, 8:08 a.m.
Marco Masi. Waldorfschule in den Mainauen. Germany


 
While there are important questions addressed in the HBP, I find the implementation and perspective at the questions too restricted. It is too early to put all eggs into only one basket.

July 18, 2014, 9:58 a.m.
Ingo Fischer. IFISC (UIB-CSIC). Spain


 
As a former local PI in a successfully achieved FET EU project (PHOCUS, 2010-2013) dedicated to an alternative photonic hardware approach for a brain inspired computing principle, I was willing to join the Human Brain Project, as a few other collaborators within PHOCUS. The HBP leader was moreover a co-author of the computing principle in a 2002 paper.

We (some partners within the PHOCUS consortium) only got negative responses from HBP persons, when lucky, and no response mostly (thus unfortunately considering myself as non-eligible for HBP funding). The letter I am willing to sign reflects my own experience with HBP: lack of open-mind project policy, too much apparent focusing on the human brain numerical simulations only.

July 18, 2014, 10:05 a.m.
Laurent Larger. FEMTO-ST / Optics. France


 
Raising the profile of brain research, the last comparatively unknown and most vital part of our human anatomy,is an excellent idea. Bringing together researchers to aim for specific goals in this research is even more laudable.

July 19, 2014, 2:22 p.m.
Christine Adams. ware hall enterprises. United Kingdom


 
I do not have specific issues with the HBP management as such, but with the general idea that Europe had to counter-act the US Brain initiative and create such a monster which is sucking in most of the funding for neurosciences not only in the EC but also within each Partner country. I guess some clever people saw in this a way to get enormous funding out of lobbying the EC executives to make them believe in a completely utopistic project. Bravo for the artists! But there are millions of other, just as important ways to understand the brain and its disorders, that will now come to a stop due to lack of funding. The punchline is that politics and science should be completely separate. 

July 19, 2014, 5:43 p.m.
jean-claude baron. inserm. France


 
I could not agree more with the content of the letter that the project, as conceived, is highly likely to fail owing to the narrowness of its scientific basis. For being based largely on rhetoric, it will very predictably undergo the same fate as similar projects in the past, such as the Fifth Generation Computer Systems project in the early 1980's. 

July 20, 2014, 12:28 p.m.
Vincent Hayward. Université Pierre et Marie Curie. France


 
It should be self-evident to all that seeking knowledge and light is better for our species than choosing to remain ignorant in the dark.  Please support funding of big science projects!

July 20, 2014, 7:30 p.m.
Richard Simms. Buy, Sell or Refi. United States


 
This project is not comparable to a Human Genome Project which has grown so well because there *is* a commonly acceptable basis for participation: all life is written in the language of DNA and everybody can and should submit data in that (simple) format of a DNA sequence for everybody else to see and analyze. Here with this project there is significant disagreement about platforms, types of data, scope and value and validation of models. All that requires a much more diverse and massively parallel intellectual approach and new theory-experimental interfaces that will not be enabled but stifled.Without sufficient 'buy-in' from hundreds and thousands of experimentalists to feed models with data this will turn into a very big white (and useless) elephant. I cannot see how the presently narrow theoretical scope and narrow personnel architecture can accomplish this. Checks and balances are not in place and have to be (re-)introduced. 

July 20, 2014, 8:56 p.m.
Georgy Koentges. University of Warwick. United Kingdom


 
Not to review & amend would be ludicrous.

July 22, 2014, 12:23 a.m.
Mark Talbot. None. United Kingdom


 
I am an Irish native; the current EU commissioner for science is a disgrace to Ireland;

http://www.eurotrib.com/story/2009/11/17/131825/54

As a neuroscientist, IMO Markram at best will cost >$1 billion in repeating what Pribram and Freeman did before 1980

Finally, the rival "UOI" is a protest against the Irish state's attack on academic freedom

July 22, 2014, 1:24 a.m.
Sean O Nuallain. uoi. United States


 
A purely bottom-up approach indicates a failure to understand how to study complex systems. Also, don't put all your apples in one basket!

July 22, 2014, 8:13 a.m.
Richard Henson. MRC. United Kingdom


 
We need theories that include the cultural environment if we are to progress towards an unified vision of the brain.

July 22, 2014, 6:05 p.m.
Roger Bartra. Birkbeck, University of London. United Kingdom


 
In general, I support explorations of different organizational scales of effort for doing neuroscience.  However, this project has never been held to rigorous standards of empirical validation.  Furthermore, hyperbolic claims of success in achieving milestones along the way have been made without substantiation or clear definition of said milestones.

July 24, 2014, 9:24 a.m.
Saul Kato. IMP Research Institute of Molecular Pathology. Austria


 
We, the research group „Simulating the Mind“, stand behind the critical statement regarding the Human Brain Project (HBP), as we are of the firm opinion that it ignores fundamental scientific findings; in fact, principles and tools of certain sciences are scarcely used by it at all. Computer science, for example, has developed layer models for complex information systems in order to link up the higher information and abstraction layers with the lowest layer, the physical layer – precisely the central linchpin between neurology and the psyche. Concrete examples of such layer models are the Mealy machine or the ISO/OSI model. If one further accepts the scientific fact that psychoanalysis is the only science which has hitherto developed a holistic model of the psyche (in contrast to all other psychological models), it is indeed possible to simulate the human mind using the tools provided by information theory in computer science – but certainly not with a bottom-up approach starting from the neuron level. Assertions questioning our ability to model trillions of neurons based on the fact that we cannot even simulate 300 neurons of a simple animal are completely beside the point – for the crucial point is not the number of neurons to be simulated. It is rather the utilization of the appropriate tools to create the right information model, as well as the axiomatic use of the concepts and terminology of psychology, and in particular, psychoanalysis.

July 31, 2014, 4:28 p.m.
Dietmar Dietrich. Institute of Technology, Techn. University. Austria


 
My current research deals with theoretical and ethical confilcts for biologistic accounts of personal identity arising form current and possible applications of brain-maschine interfaces.

Topics I am concearned with are Whole Brain Emulation (WBE), Brain-Machine Interfaces (BMI), therefore Brain-TO-Brain Interfaces (BTBI), Brain-Machine-Brain Interfaces (BMBI), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Personal Identity, Bioethics and related topics. 

Aug. 4, 2014, 9:52 a.m.
Karel-Maximilian Daems. Ruhr-Universität Bochum. Germany


 
Current projects in neuroscience are not just about 'understanding of normal and pathological brain function',they are to a large extent about advancing computing technologies and building artificial intelligence. It seems important not to lose sight of this important objective in a review of the Human Brain Project. The alternative call for small independent investigator-led projects rather than a large central initiative needs to be critically evaluated in the light of this second goal, which for society as a whole may even be regarded as primary.

Aug. 9, 2014, 9:19 a.m.
Gabriele Scheler. none. United States


 
For good reason this project was critisised from it's conception.

Aug. 27, 2014, 4:58 p.m.
Barry Sefton. retired, and concerned EU Taxpayer. United Kingdom


 
I think the Human Brian Project is driven by a special interest group on the computing and data integration aspect of the brain. The HBP does not focus on the most critical needs of neuroscience research: to study the brain itself and to find a cure for neurological disorders. 

It is a bit premature and a mismanagement of resources to spend most of its resources to data and information system to simulate how the brain works, while the most important thing is to study the holistic aspects of the brain itself and the treatment of the brain diseases.

There are a huge collection of methodologies, techniques, know-hows and hypothesis which are currently available within many specialized fields of the neuroscience. In each specialized field, neuroscientists and researchers know very well about their knowledge base through the existing peer-reviewed publication.  This is no urgent need to spend a lot of money to build a supercomputer database information about brain research. 

It would be better to use the limited funding to support a large number of individual researchers and small team of scientists, who will collectively solve the mysteries of the brain and will come up with new drug therapy for neurological disorders.

Aug. 29, 2014, 8:59 p.m.
Lloyd Tran. Neurobiogen, Inc.. United States


 
I fully agree with the letter as is.

Sept. 5, 2014, 12:58 a.m.
Ioannis Kourouklides. University College London. United Kingdom


 
I agree with the original statement and pledge my support.

Sept. 10, 2014, 8:20 p.m.
Andre Marques Smith. University of Oxford. United Kingdom


 
The names of those responsible for this project with its farcical claims should be made public and held accountable for the enormous waste of money. Unfortunately, nothing will happen as the European Commission does not seem to be accountable to anyone.

Sept. 13, 2014, 10:30 a.m.
Karel Kranda. Nuclear Physics Institute, Czech Academy of Sciences. Czech Republic


 
I think that HBP is overly computer science-oriented and has no substantial relationship with  research of the human brain.

Oct. 1, 2014, 1:15 p.m.
Zsofia Magloczky. Inst. Exp. Med. Hungarian Acad. Sci.. Hungary


 
The HBP has been based on misconceptions, as I showed in these papers:

Complex Neuro-Cognitive Systems, Lect. Notes Computer Sci., Vol. 6686, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011, pp. 1–9.
On Reverse Engineering in the Cognitive and Brain Sciences. Natural Computing: 11 (2012), 141-150

Nov. 2, 2014, 12:42 p.m.
Andreas Schierwagen. University of Leipzig. Germany


 
Es wurde bislang nicht bekannt, daß auch nur einer der Forscher des HBP die Theorie der Interferenznetzwerke beherrscht oder diese weiterentwickelt hätte. Diese ist substantiell für jeglichen Fortschritt im Bereich des Verständnisses und der Simulation von Nervennetzen. Insofern ist nicht zu erwarten, daß ein Ergebnis erreichbar wäre.

Dec. 2, 2014, 11:05 a.m.
Gerd Heinz. Society for the Promotion of Applied Sciences e.V.. Germany


 
I support the open message to the European Commission concerning the Human Brain Project!

Dec. 23, 2014, 7:26 p.m.
Maria Niedernhuber. University of Oxford. United Kingdom


 
¿ SOLO SE ESTUDIARA EN SUPERCOMPUTADORAS ?

La iniciativa BRAIN, la Investigación del Cerebro a través del Avance de Neurotecnologías Innovadoras, es un proyecto de investigación billonario para hacer un  mapeo cerebral, conocer  cómo interactúan las células cerebrales y los circuitos neuronales a la velocidad del pensamiento, El proyecto Brain tanto en Estados Unidos como en Europa se promociona dentro de los parámetros éticos 
El proyecto Brain es promocionado como un proyecto que va a ser estudiado en superomputadoras, sin embargo la poca trasparencia, que ha sido criticada, y los enormes objetivos, como el “construir un cerebro humano” hacen poco creible que solo se realice en base a los estudios en computadoras, “es un proyecto de computación ”afirman, sin embargo la enorme diferencia entre los objetivos y los medios hace sospechar que podría estarse secretamente desarrollando una investigación paralela en cerebros humanos ilícita y forzada con implantación secreta de nanodispostivos cerebrales, que estarían realizando el mapeo cerebral, y que sería la real fuente de información del proyecto Brain
Es necesario que los organizadores del Proyecto Brain descarten públicamente que no se van a realizar o se están realizando experimentaciones antiéticas en seres humanos para realizarles mapeos cerebrales, secreta y forzadamente. Lamentablemente, en el mundo existe una larga historia de antiéticas experimentaciónes humanas, proyectos que son promocionados como lícitos, pero que con el tiempo se descubre que ha habido oculta una experimentación humana ilícita, el caso más emblemático fue el realizado en el Instituto Tuskeege, un instituto creado aparentemente para atender pacientes de raza negra por razones solidarias, pero luego de décadas se descubrió que era para realizar experimentos ilícitos inyectándoles treponema pallidum para producirles sífilis. La historia es a grandes trazos repetitiva, el secretismo del Proyecto Brain, induce a pensat en experimentos humanos ilícitos.

March 1, 2015, 7:44 a.m.
DAVID SALINAS. INDIVIDUAL. Peru


 
My research from 2008 to Honours Science in 2011 strongly suggests that the mind is a fractal design based on a template which is far from complex, consisting of two Turing Machines, one for time and one for space. It requires only that it's hardware substrate support a hierarchy of pose values, which approximate to quaternions. This is hardly the vision of trillion neuron synaptic chaos assumed by big brain exercises like blue brain.org and humanconnectome.org. I therefore wish to add my small voice to the growing tumult of others demanding that these misguided exercises cease forthwith.

March 26, 2015, 11:49 p.m.
Charles Dyer. Naturally Intelligent Systems. Australia


 
I support the open message to the European Commission concerning the Human Brain Project.
-- 
Maira M. Fróes
Associate Professor
Laboratory Anatomia das Paixões of Experimental Neuroepistemology 
Institute Tercio Pacitti of Computational Applications and Research
Graduate Program of History of Sciences and Technics and Epistemology
Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
Av. Athos da Silveira 274 room E-1008  CCMN  Cidade Universitária
Rio de Janeiro - Brazil   21941-916
+5521-3938-3181
+5521-9 9567-9364
anatomiadaspaixoes@hcte.ufrj.br
froes@nce.ufrj.br
froes.maira@gmail.com
skype: mmfroes66
http://lattes.cnpq.br/3588792476990568
http://anatomiadaspaixoes.blogspot.com/

April 19, 2015, 2:39 p.m.
Maira Froes. Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. Brazil


 
I consider that the goal of the HBP is to narrow and that it lacks of consistency

May 31, 2015, 8:03 a.m.
Marc GOOSSENS. European Society for Engineers and Industrialists. Belgium


 
The human brain is still a largely misunderstood organ and it is most likely the most complex system in the universe we know. But it is a central organ with steering functions incorporated in the human body and its very complex functions can only be studied and understood in the embodied state of a living human person - neither in rather artificial positions within the the CT nor in the bodies of dead human beings. The idea to construct artificial information processing systems in order to understand the biological central organ of the human brain in living human persons sounds impressive and gigantic at first sight. But is is leaving the realm of the biological sciences of the living and therefore it is just as much misconstrued as the computer models of the human intelligence and human consciousness. Instead we should try to understand human consciousness and human intelligence along the lines of the Cognitive Scientist Merlin Donald (Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio) who presented his general ideas in his visionary book: A Mind So Rare (in German: Der Triumph des Bewusstseins). Similarly, we should not forget conception of the embodied brain as a central biological organ connecting the human person to its surrounding and other people developed by the Psychiatrist and Philosopher Thomas Fuchs (Heidelberg University).   

Oct. 22, 2015, 12:43 p.m.
Dr. Ulrich W. Diehl. Zentrum für seelische Gesundheit. Germany


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