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Neuroscientists Analyze 'Big Data' With New Tools

Update Date: Jul 28, 2014 02:31 PM EDT

Programmers are working on tools that will help neuroscientists harness the power of distributed computing.

Technologies for monitoring brain activity are generating unprecedented data everyday but it only make sense if these could be interpreted accordingly.  

A library of tools, dubbed 'Thunder', would help make sense of the data, allowing neuroscientists to analyze a massive data set together through a cluster of computers. 

Thunder speeds the analysis of data sets that are so large and complex they would take days or weeks to analyze on a single workstation - if a single workstation could do it at all, the press release added. 

Researchers noted that they used Thunder to quickly find patterns in high-resolution images collected from the brains of active zebrafish and mice with multiple imaging techniques. 

Researchers also used the software to analyze imaging data from a newly developed microscope that monitors the activity of nearly every individual cell in the brain of a zebrafish as it behaves in response to visual stimuli. 

Thunder can run on a private cluster or on Amazon's cloud computing services. 

Researchers described the tool in the journal Nature Methods.

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