Aurel A. Lazar


819 Shapiro Research Building

Tel (212) 854-1747
Fax(212) 932-9421

Aurel A. Lazar current research interests are in computing with neural circuits (in silico) and in reverse engineering the fruit fly brain. He initiated Neurokernel, an open source platform for the emulation of the fruit fly brain, and Neuroarch, a database for querying and executing fruit fly brain circuits. Neurokernel and NeuroArch are two of the systems foundations of the Fruit Fly Brain Observatory (FFBO), a worldwide collaborative effort between experimentalists, theorists and computational neuroscientists with the goal to create an open platform for the emulation and biological validation of fruit fly brain models in health and disease. He is currently leading the development of NeuroNLP and NeuroGFX, two key FFBO applications, that enable researchers to use plain English to probe biological data that are integrated into NeuroArch and provide users highly intuitive tools to execute neural circuit models with Neurokernel.

Research Interests

Computing with neural circuits (in silico), reverse engineering the fruit fly brain (in vivo and in silico).

His work on computing with neural circuits is centered on Neural Computing Engines and on NeuroInformation Processing Machines. He pioneered formal theoretical methods of neural encoding and decoding (Time Encoding Machines) and functional identification of dendritic stimulus processors and biophysical spike generators (Channel Identification Machines)His research group created and implemented Spike Processing Machines and Phase Processing Machines in the analog domain (graded potentials) and in the spike domain on clusters of GPUs. Some of the code developed by his collaborators is available for free download. His in vivo work on Reverse Engineering the Fruit Fly Brain primarily addresses sensory processing in the early olfactory system of the Drosophila. 

Lazar received a PhD in electrical engineering and computer science from the Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, in 1980.   


  • Prior to my research in computational and systems neuroscience, I spent some 20 years as PI leading a number of computer networking research groups. I covered a broad set of research topics/fields, including building major switching hardware, architecting broadband kernels for programmable networks and creating game theory models for resource allocation.


  • Co-Director of the Center for Neural Engineering and Computation, 2013-
  • Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Xbind, Inc., 1998-2001
  • Chair of electrical engineering, Columbia University, 1997-1998
  • Professor of electrical engineering, Columbia University, 1988-
  • Associate professor of electrical engineering, Columbia University, 1984–1988
  • Assistant professor of electrical engineering, Columbia University, 1980–1984


  • IEEE
  • Society for Neuroscience


  • Fellow of the IEEE, 1993
  • IFIP/IEEE Dan Stokesberry memorial award for distinguished technical contributions to the growth of the field of network management, 2003.