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From macro to micro: Third day of TICAL2021 highlights Earth observation initiatives and developments from the Human Brain Project

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Answers to the challenges facing humanity can be drawn from where it is least expected. From a far distance, like a satellite in space, or from a very close one, like the neural connections in our brains. In its third day of activities, the TICAL2021 Conference and the 5th Latin American e-Science Meeting were dedicated to exploring these two very different universes, most extremely important for the future of research and how to face the challenges on our planet.

This Wednesday's plenary session was moderated by Mónica López - President of the Sectorial Table for Technology Management and Digital Talent in Colombia and the Council of ICT of the country - and included the participation of experts Chris Atherton, Senior Head of Research at GÉANT, Marcelo D'Agostino, Manager of the Knowledge Management and Communications Area of ​​the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Luiz Ary Messina, Coordinator of the Latin American Telemedicine University Network (RUTE-AL), and Pawel Swieboda, Director of the Human Brain Project, who opened the day of activities with the talk "Unleashing the power of data to achieve scientific advances and promote public health."

In his presentation Swieboda showed the advances of the Human Brain Project, which seeks to create an ICT-based research infrastructure for brain research, cognitive neuroscience, medicine and computing inspired by the human organ. According to the Director of the HBP, science is the last frontier of the technological revolution, and the project is exactly on that edge. "The human brain is one of the most complex data systems that exist and a huge source of data, which is the key to scientific progress," said Swieboda.

Among the most impressive developments of the project are brain prostheses for blind people, contributions for the treatment of spinal cord injuries, tools for surgery in patients with epilepsy, among others. For Swieboda, however, there is still much to explore. "The best way to extract benefits from data is global and multidisciplinary collaboration. HBP is a global project, designed in Europe and totally open to collaboration with the world," he explained.

Another project open to collaboration is Copernicus, an initiative of the European Union for real-time observations of the Earth, which gives decision makers resources to act effectively and beneficially for the greatest number of people when facing challenges such as sustainable development, response to natural disasters, climate change and the refugee crisis. "The Copernicus project is Europe's eyes on Earth to respond more quickly to global challenges. The more data, the better the answers will be", explained Chris Atherton. According to the Head of Research at GÉANT, connectivity provided by the EllaLink cable will play a very important role in the continuation of the initiative. "Copernicus' data transfer from Europe to Latin America will be greatly enhanced by the BELLA Programme and the collaboration between RedCLARA and GÉANT. We are very excited and believe that what lies ahead is a considerable paradigm shift”, celebrated Atherton.

The last two presentations of the session were given by Marcelo D'Agostino and Luiz Ary Messina, experts in Digital Health, who shared their impressions on the advances of the digital transformation in the Health sector in the world and in Latin America, and together they answered the questions of the assistants.

The third and penultimate day of TICAL continued with a varied program of parallel sessions, workshops on Telemedicine and Collaboration Experiences, sessions on cybersecurity and virtual stands. The session on Thursday, September 2 begins one hour earlier, at 1:00 p.m. GMT (10:00 a.m. in Brazil / 9:00 a.m. in Chile, Argentina and Uruguay / 8:00 a.m. in Colombia).

For more information, visit https://tical2021.redclara.net/

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