San Diego telecommunications company Qualcomm Inc. is a key participant in President Barack Obama’s new BRAIN Initiative — a $100 million government-funded project meant to understand the complexities of the brain.

The BRAIN Initiative, short for Basic Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies, will distribute money in 2014 for a multiyear effort. The president called the venture a “grand challenge,” much like the Human Genome Project. The plan will link and fund the nation’s top minds to study neuroscience, both in the public and private sector. One of the participants is Qualcomm’s Brain Corp.

The Brain Corp. consists of a team of neuroscientists developing algorithms that are patterned after brain activity. The company said its plan is to design specialized hardware that will bring to market the next generation of smart consumer products with artificial nervous systems. It was founded in 2009, and Qualcomm has funded the project with two investment rounds.

— SDBJ Staff Report