Steve Marcus, Michael Fu, Behtash Babadi, Jonathan Simon

Funding Agency



A team of four University of Maryland researchers has been awarded a $1M, 18-month cooperative agreement by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for “An Optimization-Based Approach to Breaking the Neural Code.” The project is part of DARPA’s Lagrange program.

The principal investigator is Professor Steve Marcus (ECE/ISR). He is joined by three co-investigators: ISR-affiliated Assistant Professor Behtash Babadi (ECE), Professor Michael Fu (BMGT/ISR) and Professor Jonathan Simon (ECE/Biology/ISR).

The researchers will develop an innovative optimization framework tailored to noninvasive neuroimaging data from the human brain that is scalable, risk-sensitive and real time, and is capable of capturing the stochastic and geometric features unique to cortical function. This framework also will be formulated in a way that will generalize easily to other application areas.

The team will work on four tasks: risk- sensitive higher-order inverse solutions, fast real-time algorithms for non-convex maximum a posteriori probability (MAP) problems, an information geometric approach to dimensionality reduction for neural data, and the application of all of these to auditory MEG experiments.