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General Motors, Virginia Tech scientists collaborate to advance neuroinformatics
Date:11/15/2007

Blacksburg, Va. Advances in sensing technologies have made exquisite measurements of brain activity possible in the past decade. Using these measurements, computer scientists will now help neuroscientists discover the complex neuronal networks in the brain that result in the actions we take for granted, like reaching for a glass of water.

General Motors (GM) officials visited the Virginia Tech computer science department to launch the Laboratory for Neuroinformatics. Naren Ramakrishnan, associate professor of computer science, and his students will collaborate with K.P. Unnikrishnan, research scientist at the General Motors R&D Center, to create new algorithms that will process the massive amounts of data neuroscientists are now able to collect from the brain. Ramakrishnan and Unnikrishnan will be the co-directors of the laboratory.

Unnikrishnan, a physicist who has conducted neuroscience-related research for 20 years, met Ramakrishnan through the community of computer scientists. "GM is today an information-rich company. Deriving knowledge from information is important to us. This is why we teamed up with Naren Ramakrishnan's group that works on data mining, Unnikrishnan said.

Unnikrishnan is a member of GMs Discovery program, which undertakes basic research on questions that may appear unrelated to the interests of a motor company. Ramakrishnan is expert at instructing computers to digest huge amounts of information to find important connections and discern sequences within complex processes.

"Virginia Tech's emphasis on interdisciplinary research across traditional department boundaries is what attracted us here," said Jeffrey D. Tew, a General Motors Technical Fellow and Group Manager at its Research and Development Center. We think of this collaboration as a start to identifying emerging technologies for General Motors in the near future. The discovery projects are aimed at such basic research.

Richard Benson,
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Contact: Christina Daniilidi
danii@vt.edu
540-231-1168
Virginia Tech
Source:Eurekalert

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