Spiking neural networks with high potential

CHIST-ERA supports ten transnational projects on artificial intelligence with CHF 10 million worth of funding. Three of these projects involve researchers in Switzerland who are supported by the SNSF.

The last CHIST-ERA call, launched in late 2018, covered the topics analog computing for artificial intelligence and smart distribution of computing in dynamic networks. 62 applications were submitted (15 of them involving Swiss partners), the success rate was 16.1% (or 20%). Of the selected projects, 40% have a partner in a country within the enlarged European Union.

Imitating the brain

The researchers supported by the SNSF – Jean Fompeyrine (IBM), Giacomo Indiveri and Evangelos Eleftheriou (University of Zurich and IBM), Taekwang Jang and Michele Magno (ETH Zurich) – share a common vision of the potentially huge benefits of spiking neural networks for society. By attempting to imitate how the brain works, these networks can carry out highly complex operations energy-efficiently.

Each in its own way, their individual projects propose using these structures to implement artificial intelligence effectively in daily life. This affects a wide range of potential applications, such as self-driving cars, mobile phones and health tracking systems.

A decade of support

CHIST-ERA is a network of funding agencies in Europe and beyond. It was established in 2009 to support excellent multidisciplinary research in the area of information and communication technology that might eventually lead to technological breakthroughs. The CHIST-ERA consortium is itself funded by the European Union under the FET programme (Future and Emerging Technologies).