MoNETA, the ancient Roman Goddess of memory (and the common word in Italian for "coin"), stands for MOdular Neural Exploring Traveling Agent, and is a collective name that represents a family of neural modeling projects in the Neuromorphics Lab. MoNETA is designed to be modular: a whole brain system, or artificial nervous system including many cortical and subcortical areas found in mammalian brains, is progressively refined with more complex and adaptive modules, and is tested in increasingly more challenging environment.   MoNETA  neural models are designed to be able to perceive sensory data and produce self-sufficient and observable cognitive behavior, in other words to be autonomous. Thus, the goal of MoNETA is to integrate sensory and behavior (motor) models as a first step to creating an artificial whole brain system.

MoNETA  has been developed and tested in both virtual and robotic environments. MoNETA has been designed in Cog Ex Machina (Cog), the software realized by HP in collaboration with Boston University. Cog, which can run on CPUs, GPUs, and will run on memristive-based devices, allows to pack large-scale, highly interconnected, plastic, heterogeneous neural models that make up the animat brain in a low-power, high density chip which is suitable for implementing portable petascale neural-based computing.
The first version of MoNETA has been completed in the DARPA SyNAPSE project, where MoNETA was able to successfully negotiate the Morris Water Maze task (see figure).
For more information, visit the completed projects and current projects pages.

Below are a few videos of MoNETA running in its virtual environemts, such as the Mars VE for the NASA STTR project and the Morris Water Maze virtual environment.

Large scale implementation of MoNETA

MoNETA large scale simulations will leverage the Iterative Evolution of Models software framework (ItEM) as well as high performance computing resources, such as the new GPU cluster hosted at HP Labs under the direction of Greg Sniderand Dick Carter. The cluster, called Simcity, features a total of 144 GPUs, 576 GB of conventional memory, 432 GB of GPU memory, and an Infiniband interconnect. A prototype cluster containing three nodes and six GPUs, called Simtown, is also available for testing and debugging. By the end of 2011, the Neuromorphics Lab will finish building out a twin system with roughly half the computing power of Simcity.


Gorchetchnikov A. (2012). Modular neural exploring and traveling agent (MoNETA) in virtual Morris water maze. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts, New Orleans (accepted).

Ames, Heather (2012). Integrative brain systems for autonomous virtual and robotic agents. AFRL Biologically Inspired Cyber Defense Workshop. Aug 28-30, 2012. Dayton, OH.

Massimiliano Versace (2012)Intelligent machine or bust. Invited talk, Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Harvard University, Boston, MA, USA, 2012.

Sherbakov, L. (2012) CogEye: from active vision to context identification. NSF CELEST Site Visit, Boston, MA.

Ames, H. Mingolla, E., Sohail, A., Chandler, B., Gorchetchnikov, A., Léveillé, J., Livitz, G. and Versace, M. (2012) The Animat. IEEE Pulse, January/February 2012. PDF

Gorchetchnikov A., Leveille J., Versace M., Ames H., Livitz G, Chandler B., Mingolla E., Carter D., Amerson R., and Snider G. (2011). MoNETA: Massive parallel application of biological models navigating through virtual Morris water maze and beyond. Computational Neuroscience Meeting Abstracts, Stockholm, Sweden (CNS 2011)

Versace M. and Chandler B. (2010) MoNETA: A Mind Made from Memristors. IEEE Spectrum, December 2011. PDF

Livitz G., Versace M., Gorchetchnikov A., Vasilkoski Z., Ames H., Chandler B., Leveille J. and Mingolla E. (2011) Scalable adaptive brain-like systems, The Neuromorphic Engineer: 10.2417/1201101.003500 February 2011. PDF

Leveille, J., Livitz, G., Ames, H., Chandler, B., Gorchetchnikov, A., Versace, M., Mingolla, E. and Snider, G. (2011). Learning to see in a virtual world. Neuroinformatics 2011, Boston, MA.

Leveille J., Ames H., Chandler B., Gorchetchnikov A., Livitz G., Versace M. and Mingolla E. (2011) Invariant object recognition and localization in a virtual animat. International Conference on Cognitive and Neural Systems (ICCNS) 2011, Boston, MA, USA.

Leveille J., Ames H., Chandler B., Gorchetchnikov A., Livitz G., Versace M. and Mingolla E. (2011) Object recognition and localization in a virtual animat: large-scale implementation in dense memristive memory devices. International Joint Conference on Neural Networks (IJCNN) 2011, San Jose, CA, USA.

Gorchetchnikov A., Ames H., Chandler B., Leveille J., Livitz G., Mingolla E. and Versace M. (2010) MoNETA: Modular Neural Exploring Traveling Agent. Functional Connections workshop, CELEST, Boston, October 2010.

NL team working on this project: Anatoli Gorchetchnikov, Jasmin Leveille, Gennady Livitz, Heather Ames, Ben Chandler, Sean Patrick, Ennio Mingolla, Max Versace


The Neuromorphics Lab is highly collaborative with connections across both academia and industry.