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Attachment 1

"FY2013 Strategic International Research Cooperative Program (SICP)"
Japan-Germany Research Exchange Projects

Project Title Japanese
Position and Institution Abstract of Research Project
1 Impedance regulation during energy transfer motor tasks: from human experiments to computational modeling and robotics Ganesh Gowrishankar Researcher,
Advanced ICT research Institute, National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT)
How can the design of sports equipment (golf clubs, tennis racquets) be improved so as to get maximum performance from them? The answer to this question depends on the biomechanics and control employed by humans to perform ball hitting tasks. In this project we aim to understand impact/hitting task control by humans through behavioral experiments, computational modeling and robot applications. The NICT-Japan group will use behavioral experiments with humans to develop a mathematical understanding of the employed impact control while the TUM-Germany group will assist by developing new equipment that will enable these novel experiments. The two groups will then implement and experiment the model on humanoid robots. Utilizing these results, we will then define how the stiffness of sports equipment's can be optimized to suite individual needs. The project thus aims to develop human like sports abilities in robots and develop new sports equipment for improved performance by players.
Patrick van der Smagt Professor,
Faculty of Informatics, Technische Universitat Munchen (TUM)
2 Heterogeneity of the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus: Quantification, Simulation, and Functional Analysis Toru Takumi Team Leader,
Brain Science Institute RIKEN
This project aims to find an integrative mathematical explanation of the adaptation phenomena in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) based on experimentally observed heterogeneity of the tissue. The Japanese side provides data in a standardized format accessible to computational analysis. The German side searches for traces of active coding in the dataset by using advanced non-linear techniques. Through the complementary approaches, both sides are expected to develop an integrative model that explains various patterns of adaptation of the circadian behavior under changes of light-dark cycles, which remains to be the outstanding challenge of circadian biology.
Grigory Bordyugov Researcher,
Charite University
3 Neural circuit mechanisms of reinforcement learning Kenji Morita Lecturer,
Graduate School of Education
The University of Tokyo
Learning through success and failure experiences is considered to crucially depend on errors in value predictions, which have been suggested to be represented by the activity of midbrain dopamine neurons. This project aims at elucidating how such dopaminergic neuronal activity arises and the resulting dopamine response is utilized for the learning processes through computational modeling of the cortical and basal ganglia neural circuits based on anatomical and physiological data. The Japan side will conduct data analysis and collection, as well as implementation of them to mathematical models and model analysis, while the Germany side will develop large-scale models and conduct simulations with developing technologies for them. Combining the advantages of the both sides that are complementary to each other, this project is expected to contribute to clarifying neural circuit mechanisms of learning through trial and error, and also future applications to the fields of education, medicine and engineering.
Abigail Morrison Professor
Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (INM-6)
Jülich Research Centre
4 The influence of feature salience over microsaccades in normal and blindsight humans and monkeys: an experimental and theoretical investigation Masatoshi Yoshida Assistant Professor,
Department of Developmental Physiology
National Institute for Physiological Sciences
The main aim of our collaborative research is to establish a biologically plausible neural network model of microsaccades by combining eye movement recording, lesion studies and neurophysiology in monkeys and humans with the saliency computational model. The Japanese team will examine whether the effect of visual attention on microsaccades is affected by the damage in the primary visual cortex (V1) in monkeys and humans. The German team will examine whether the computational model is able to predict microsaccades and the activity of the superior colliculus in monkeys. While our partnership is not a typical one of a pure theoretician PI collaborating with a pure experimentalist PI, it is very representative of a current trend in systems neuroscience, in which modeling is heavily entrenched in the very fabric of the experimental approach. For example, The Hafed group has focused primarily on the motor aspects of microsaccade generation, whereas the Yoshida group has focused on visual salience and its influence on eye movements. This collaboration makes particular sense because of the complementary nature of our expertise.
Ziad M. Hafed Junior Research
Group Leader
Physiology of Active Vision Laboratory Werner Reichardt Center for Integrative Neuroscience

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