Comparison of electro-optical strategies for mimicking C. Elegans network interconnectivity in hardware

Lorenzo Ferrara, Alexey Petrushin, Carlo Liberale, Dara Brannick, Brian Connolly, Pat Mitchell, Axel Blau*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


With exactly 302 neurons and about 8000 connections, the hermaphrodite of the soil-dwelling ringworm Caenorhabditis elegans features one of the simplest nervous systems in nature. The Si elegans project will provide a reverse-engineerable model of this nematode by emulating its nervous system and embodying it in a virtual world. The hardware will consist of 302 individual FPGAs, each carrying a neuron-specific neural response model. The FPGA neurons will be interconnected by an electro-optical connectome to distribute the signal at the axonal output or gap-junction pin of an FPGA neuron onto the respective synaptic input or gap-junction pins of postsynaptic FPGA neurons. This technology will replicate the known connectome of the nematode to allow for a biomimetic parallel information flow between neurons. This chapter focuses on the comparison of different electro-optical connectome concepts and on the required implementation steps with their advantages and disadvantages being explained.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBiosystems and Biorobotics
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages20
StatePublished - 2016

Publication series

NameBiosystems and Biorobotics
ISSN (Print)2195-3562
ISSN (Electronic)2195-3570

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Biomedical Engineering


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