Introducing Dr. Randal Koene

Science Director, 2045 Initiative.
Neuroengineering Pioneer Computational Neuroscientist, science curator in the whole brain emulation field, pioneering development of substrate-independent minds.

Whole Brain Emulation:
Reverse Engineering A Mind

My talk will take us from start to finish through the process from our current condition to a possible substrate-independent mind achieved by whole brain emulation. I will address the goal, the criteria for success, the scientific and technological challenges and the feasible solutions. This detailed overview will connect with the projects of the other brain-science speakers at the Congress. I will point out opportunities at technological milestones, such as emerge through access to high-resolution large-scale brain data and the development of improved neural interfaces and neuroprostheses.

Being ultimately depends on one's ability to experience and to do so in the manner that is characteristic of one's individual mind. Concrete investigation of the way in which a mind emerges from brain activity has recently become possible, largely due to rapid advances in computational neuroscience and data acquisition, both structurally (the popular field of “connectomics”) and functionally (brain activity mapping). The process of personal experience – like any process – involves some mechanisms operating at a given time under the influence of an environment state, a state that can include sensory input and functional “memory” established as a result of prior conditions. An emulation or prosthesis is then the attempt to replace a system of processing with an equivalent set of mechanisms that carry out the same processing within established success criteria. The engineering approach to understanding a system sufficiently that it can

be emulated or replaced by prostheses is known as system identification. I will describe how system identification may be feasibly carried out for an individual human brain, and how constraints and requirements can be learned through projects with iterative improvements. As Science Director of the 2045 Initiative, I will present a roadmap in the context of an evolutionary strategy that seeks to benefit humanity in the near-term and protect its future.


Dr. Koene has been focusing on the functional reconstruction of neural tissue since 1994. He introduced the multi-disciplinary field of whole brain emulation and is lead curator of the scientific roadmap with which its technological development is promoted.

Working with the VU University Amsterdam, Dr. Koene led the creation of NETMORPH, a computational framework for the simulated morphological development of large-scale high-resolution neuroanatomically realistic neuronal circuitry.

Dr. Koene is CEO and Founder of the science foundation and neural interfaces company NeuraLink Co. He is Science Director of the 2045 Initiative and advises several neurotechnology companies and organizations.

In previous roles, Dr. Koene was Director of Analysis at Silicon Valley nanotechnology company Halcyon Molecular (2010-12) and Director of the Department of Neuroengineering at Tecnalia, the third largest private research organization in Europe (2008-10). Dr. Koene was a research professor at Boston University's Center for Memory and Brain.

He earned his Ph.D. studying memory mechanisms at McGill University, after obtaining an M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering with a specialization in Information Theory at Delft University of Technology.

Dr. Koene’s publications, presentations and interviews are available at


Congress Organizer

Strategic Social Initiative
The mission of the 2045 intitative is the creation and realization of a new strategy forthe development of humnatity

2045: A New Era for Humanity