Swiss University Launches Human Brain Project

By the Associated Press | October 7, 2013 | 10:36 AM EDT

Henry Markram, neuroscientist and coordinator of the Human Brain Project, HBP, attends a press conference at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, EPFL, in Lausanne, Switzerland, Monday, Oct. 7, 2013. Scientists from the 135 partner institutions of the Human Brain Project, co-funded by the EU with an estimated budget of 1.2 billion euro, are meeting in Switzerland for the official launch. (AP Photo/Keystone, Jean-Christophe Bott)

GENEVA (AP) — A Swiss university has launched what it calls the world's most ambitious neuroscience project with a budget of 1.2 billion euros ($1.6 billion).

The Human Brain Project, co-funded by the European Union, plans to use supercomputers to model the brain and then simulate drugs and treatments for diseases that cost hundreds of billions of euros annually in Europe alone.

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne on Monday held initial meetings with scientists from 135 partner institutions, aiming over the next 30 months to set up and test platforms that from 2016 will be used for the simulations and computations.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health in May also announced an attempt to map the brain, while German scientists announced in June they had created a digital brain model.