Artificial intelligence is becoming ubiquitous in modern life. To build systems under the current paradigm, large amounts of energy are required for computing and sensing. This causes environmental problems, pollution, and challenges for small-sized systems, as well as privacy issues. The field of neuromorphic science and technology offers an alternative by seeking to understand principles of biological brains and build on their basis artificial systems using low-power hardware and software solutions. While its advantages have been demonstrated, further advances are necessary and will require common computational tools and principled experimental approaches. This AccelNet project, NeuroPacNet, links international experts in neuromorphic engineering with computational neuroscientists, roboticists, control theorists, and researchers of perception from seven global networks to set the foundations for building systems that can robustly process real-world signals in time and adapt to changes. This network of networks will facilitate the development of new methods and approaches for intelligent system design and prepare the next generation of leaders in neuromorphic science and technology. As different industries adopt neuromorphic hardware, society will have access to new applications, such as in computing on cell phones, neuroprostheses, intelligent hearing aids, and smart sensory systems with predictive capabilities.

NeuroPacNet will advance computational research on modeling the integration of perception, action, and cognition. The network of network will coordinate across those research thrusts and develop new approaches grounded in theoretical neuroscience for sensorimotor control, motor learning, event-based computations, and learning in spiking neural networks. NeuroPacNet will also include robotics research in the areas of drone navigation and human activity understanding for humanoids and will address social and ethical issues in humanoid robotics. The network of networks will use innovative hardware design and mixed signals computational systems to address computation for emerging and unconventional technologies. International collaboration and knowledge exchange will include an immersive research exchange program providing scholarships to students and postdoctoral researchers, an annual workshop to discuss common issues and concerns in a stimulating environment and to engage in hands-on projects, meetings to define challenges, opportunities, and actions to accelerate progress, and competitions with two challenges to be solved by teams of researchers and students. An interactive project website will become a portal for archived webinar talks, tools, and data.

The Accelerating Research through International Network-to-Network Collaborations (AccelNet) program is designed to accelerate the process of scientific discovery and prepare the next generation of U.S. researchers for multiteam international collaborations. The AccelNet program supports strategic linkages among U.S. research networks and complementary networks abroad that will leverage research and educational resources to tackle grand scientific challenges that require significant coordinated international efforts.

Co-funding for this project is provided by the Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
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Soo-Siang Lim
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University of Maryland College Park
College Park
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