SECO is a
four-year project funded by the Seventh Research Program (FP7) of the
European Union. It involves 7 research groups in 5 countries. SECO is one of
several projects funded under the FP7 initiative on BIO-ICT Convergence.
SECO (short for Self Construction) will propose methods for designing and implementing self-constructing systems. It will begin by examining existing self-constructing systems such as the mammalian neocortex, and move towards a theoretical framework for abstract specification of arbitrary self-constructing systems.
As circuits get exponentially smaller and faster, we face exponential increases in their production cost. Current hardware methodologies demand extremely low failure rates for individual components, yet when fabricating huge circuits, yields are still low.
Nature has solved these problems. Our neocortex, a cellular computer that generates intelligent behavior, constructs and configures itself starting from a single precursor cell, based on genetic information and interactions with its environment. Understanding this process would revolutionize computer technology.
Progress in developmental neuroscience now permits a reverse-engineering approach, abstracting nature's principles into systems of our own design. Here we propose some first steps towards understanding these developmental construction mechanisms so that we can transpose them into novel software design technologies.
We will demonstrate, by a fusion of experimental neuroscience, detailed physical simulation, and theoretical analysis, the principles by which a population of real or artificial neurons can grow and assemble themselves into functioning circuits.