Project Description


NeuroChem: Biologically inspired computation for chemical sensing

Biological olfaction outperforms chemical instrumentation in specificity, response time, detection limit, coding capacity, time stability, robustness, size, power consumption, and portability. This biological function provides outstanding performance due, to a large extent, to the unique architecture of the olfactory pathway, which combines a high degree of redundancy, an efficient combinatorial coding along with unmatched chemical information processing mechanisms. The last decade has witnessed important advances in the understanding of the computational primitives underlying the functioning of the olfactory system.

NEUROCHEM will develop novel computing paradigms and biomimetic artifacts for chemical sensing taking inspiration from the biological olfactory pathway. This project proposes to build computational models of its main building blocks: olfactory receptor layer, olfactory bulb, and olfactory cortex. The olfactory receptor array will be interfaced to a full-scale parallel simulation model of the rat olfactory bulb and cortex. To reduce complexity, models will go through an abstraction stage in which their processing capabilities are captured by algorithmic solutions. To demonstrate this approach, a biomimetic demonstrator will be built featuring a large scale sensor array mimicking the olfactory receptor neuron layer, and abstracted biomimetic algorithms will be implemented in an embedded system that will interface the chemical sensors.