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President Tony Tan gets sneak peek into the human brain

During his official visit to Switzerland, Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam visited the school which is leading the Human Brain Project -- the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne.

LAUSANNE, Switzerland: Findings from a massive project on the human brain, worth some 1 billion euros, may be on display at museums in Singapore within the next few years.

The Human Brain Project aims to simulate the complete human brain on supercomputers to better understand how it functions.

During his official visit to Switzerland, Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam visited the school which is leading the research project -- the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL).

President Tan was given a demonstration of how the project intends to simulate and identify the causes of brain diseases.

The project, which began in 2013, will first develop a model of the brain of a mouse in five years, with a model of the human brain by 2023.

In the meantime, project leaders are in talks with representatives in Singapore to display ongoing research findings in museums, with the aim of demystifying the human brain.

"We are establishing a world-wide network of museums where they will be able to actually disseminate this knowledge,” said Henry Markram, co-director of the Human Brain Project.

“They will have a permanent booth on what we call future neuroscience, future medicine and future computing."

During his visit, President Tan was also given a demonstration on neuro-prosthetics by the EPFL.

The institute has ties with Singapore's universities and plans to further strengthen such collaboration.

"We will continue to increase research collaborations, specifically with NUS, probably with NTU too but that's still under discussion,” said Antoine Fromentin, head of international relations at EPFL.

“We are in the process to launch new workshops with professors on both sides in order to create new synergy and launch new research projects."

EPFL launched a collaboration with Singapore's A*STAR a few years ago to allow young researchers in the field of physics, engineering, life sciences and mathematics, the opportunity to complete half of their PhD in Switzerland and the other half in Singapore.

The first student from this collaboration will be going to Singapore this year. 

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