For engineering applications by hardware-implementation through analyses from every possible aspect of the remarkable mechanisms of the three principal functions of the brain, “Sensing,” “Learning and Memory,” and “Emergent Behavior,” we have deployed our faculty and post-docs in cross-disciplinary units of sub-projects of our characteristic five key fields (research areas), which is shown in Diagram 8. With the exception of the “Robotics” Unit (8), all the seven units of sub-projects are conducting active research, each of which includes at least one member from one of the four key fields, “Physiology,” “Psychology,” “Theory and Models,” and “Devices.” As the final objective of the sub-project of the “Robotics” Unit (8) is to produce a prototype of general-purpose robots for verification and testing of the “brain-inspired” ICs, it is a stand-alone sub-project, and yet it is conducting its research with very close ties and collaborations with all the other units.
With frequent and close communication within each unit of sub-project, each member conducts his/her own research, discussing with other members almost daily about the immediate tasks, who is in charge of each task, allotment of budget and resources. We also hold “COE Seminars” twice a month, gathering all the units of sub-projects, often resulted in a heated debates and criticisms of the other units. Due to the diversity of the specialties of the members, the patterns of thinking and conventions of argumentation, the values and the folds for the disciplines are so different that at the onset of the program, it was fair to say that it was ‘agonizing’ time to time to try to be constructive, even to grasp the significances of researches in the other sub-projects with jargons and technical terms used in different senses in different fields. However, we are proud of ourselves that we have overcome these labor pains and truly crossed the boundaries of the established fields, understanding the other fields better and talking in the same language. These hard but rewarding processes paid off with a welcome result that not only among the faculty and post-doc members, but also among students, the seclusive mind-sets have gone, the mental “walls” between laboratories have been torn down, and students are freely going to other laboratories and faculty members for advices and questions in other fields.
The précises of each sub-project are the following: