Infrastructure for Understanding the Human Brain

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01 August 2015 8432 reads


Understanding the human brain remains a major challenge of the 21st century. Many groups worldwide are tackling the challenge of accelerating our understanding of the human brain through large-scale data management, mining, knowledge management and collaboration. This workshop is intended to bring together the broader community and the EU Flagship Human Brain Project ( to tackle challenges relevant for neuroscience. We will explore current solutions and drive discussion around relevant developments from other fields and communities for neuroscience use cases.  The aim of each session is to identify and develop relevant RDA working groups to ensure community collaboration on common standards and services.

Workshop Outline

10:00 - 11:30

Session I: Active Data Repositories and Federations

A core challenge in neuroscience is providing reliable, performant and scalable solutions with authentication, metadata support, persistent identifiers and data-type specific services. Here we will review some of the leading options for neuroscience data sharing repositories and options from other domains. Discussion will be around common requirements and potential solutions for deploying neuroscience data repositories across Europe and the world. A related Bird of a Feather session is planned during the RDA Plenary (

Interest areas:

  • Data federation
  • Federated authentication, authorization and identity
  • Data-type specific services
  • Remote data visualization
11:30 - 12:00 Coffee break
12:00 - 13:30

Session II: Multiscale Federated Data Mining

With the production of large amounts of imaging data comes the challenge of measuring and extracting features and properties of the brain from this data. Only by quantifying specific properties of the nervous system from this large-scale imaging data will it be possible to analyze, cluster, model and predict nervous system properties including cells, synapses and connectivity. This session will focus on the challenges of analyzing large datasets without moving them, machine learning, machine vision and other methods to analyze brain imaging data across scales.

Interest areas:

  • Machine vision for neuroscience
  • Infrastructure for large-scale data mining
  • Machine learning
  • Clustering
  • Spark/Hadoop
13:30 - 14:30 Lunch
14:30 - 16:00

Session III: Knowledge Management and Search

As large datasets are mined, analyzed and clustered, the key properties, relationships, categories and structure in the data is transformed into knowledge. As this knowledge is generated it is essential to have rich online databases and search engines to disseminate this knowledge, make it accessible and searchable. Data-driven ontologies can then be contrasted with expert domain knowledge in order to drive the knowledge discovery process forward. This session will explore a variety of tools developed for online knowledge management and search including defining, curating and maintaining ontologies, navigating structured information and search strategies for complex data. A related Bird of a Feather session is planned during the RDA Plenary (

Interest areas:

  • Ontologies
  • Metadata
  • Linked data
  • Semantic search
  • Spatial search
  • Data-driven ontologies
16:00 - 16:30 Coffee break
16:30 - 18:00

Session IV: Online Collaboration Environments

Collaboration is becoming a requisite part of modern science in many domains. New web technologies are enabling collaboration through data sharing, provenance tracking, reproducible workflows, communication, hyperlinks and online training. Scientific social networks are also emerging as an important tool for collaboration. This session will explore the factors enabling successful online collaboration and the pitfalls to avoid.

Interest areas:

  • Provenance tracking
  • Security
  • Collaborative tools (docs, workflows, etc)
  • Reproducibility
  • User profiles


Workshop coordinated by Sean Hill, The Human Brain Project

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