Our research on neuroprosthetics receives HPC Wire Reader's Choice Award for Best use of AI

Neurosim lab reserachers at SUNY Downstate and the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at the University of California San Diego received the HPCwire awards for 2017, recognizing the use of its Comet supercomputer in the area of artificial intelligence (AI) research. The online news organization covering high-performance computing and applications recognized SUNY Downstate and SDSC with the following awardReaders’ Choice - Best Use of AI: For using SDSC's Comet supercomputer to develop realistic “biomimetic neuroprosthetics” by replicating brain circuitry to direct a realistic prosthetic arm.

The awards were presented at the 2017 International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis (SC17), in Denver, CO.

“These two awards recognize not only the significance of such research breakthroughs in AI and genetics research, but the fact that supercomputers such as Comet are now crucial resources to enable such advances in ‘Grand Challenge’ areas identified by the National Science Foundation, in this case Enriching Human Life and Society and Working at the Human-Technology Frontier,” said SDSC Director Michael Norman.

“From innovative industry leaders to the end consumer, the HPCwire readership reaches and engages every aspect of the high-performance computing community,” said Tom Tabor, CEO of Tabor Communications, publisher of HPCwire. “We proudly recognize these efforts and achievements and gladly allow the voices of our readers to be heard. Our sincere congratulations to all of the winners.”

By applying a novel computer algorithm to mimic how the brain learns, a team of researchers – with the aid of SDSC’s Comet supercomputer and the Center’s Neuroscience Gateway – has identified and replicated neural circuitry that resembles how an unimpaired brain controls limb movement.

William Lytton, a professor of physiology and pharmacology at State University of New York’s Downstate Medical Center, is the study’s principal investigator. Lytton worked with Amit Majumdar, director of SDSC’s Data Enabled Scientific Computing division, and his team by using Comet to run through thousands of modeling possibilities to create a neuroprosthetic arm. Majumdar also is the PI for the NSF-funded Neuroscience Gateway.

The research was published in the March-May 2017 issue of the IBM Journal of Research and Developmentand opens the door for “biomimetic neuroprosthetics” -- brain implants that replicate brain circuits and their function -- that one day could replace lost or damaged brain cells or tissue from tumors, stroke, and other diseases. Salvador Dura-Bernal, a research assistant professor in physiology and pharmacology with Downstate, is the paper’s first author. Subhashini Sivagnanam, a senior scientific computing specialist at SDSC and co-PI of the NSG project, is a co-author.

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