Ever since Neo was announced, Seung Lab has been working hard to prepare new research tools (AIs, annotations, data sharing hubs, visualizations, etc) to prepare us for the tidal wave of science heading our way in 2018 thanks to the IARPA MICrONS program. This is one of the largest high resolution connectomics reconstruction effort in world history and will create open data that researchers will draw upon for decades, not to mention hopefully create some cool discoveries about the brain’s wiring in the shorter term.
The whole Neo dataset of 1 cubic mm will take months to image and come in at around 1.6 petabytes (1 Pb ~ 1 million GB). The electron microscopy imaging team at Allen Institute will clock in around 17 terabytes of data per day. Rather than wait and send one gigantic dataset, the imaging team will periodically send “smaller” (not actually small in size) subsets to the lab.
The first phase of this monumental project involved imaging a volume 0.1% of the size of the final dataset. The brain of this mouse will go down in history! For the past several months, Seung lab has been working to process, align, clean up, train convnets, segment, and create a new interactive tool that will be the basis of Neo. We’ve also begun some preliminary analysis on this small set of neurons. The latest of which is a bundle, shown below and here in gif format. It may look like a hairball at first, but if you look closely, you can see the apical dendrites and axons of these 80 pyramidal cells are together like a cable. While the preliminary dataset is too small to see where the dendrites or axons end up, the final Neo dataset should be big enough that we can find, trace, and follow bundles like these to their termini!
Now that you’ve seen a single bundle, can you tell how many are in the following image? Answer at the bottom of this post.
There’s lots more where this came from. We’ll continue to post updates and findings here on the blog and bring the discussion to chat. Neo Beta is on track to launch in 2018 to players ranked Scythe and above, followed by a broader global roll out. This launch can hardly come soon enough!
We are tremendously excited to invite the player community into cortex to share the discoveries first hand. For science!
Answer: 9 bundles