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Enabling novel Neuroscience with Brain-Life

Dr. Franco Pestilli, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University, is leading an ambitious project which aims to develop an online Neuroscience platform to promote reproducible research.

Dr. Franco Pestilli, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University, is leading an ambitious project which aims to develop an online platform for a broad range of STEM researchers and students. The aim is to help dissolve the boundaries between the theoretical, experimental and cognitive neuroscience as well as computer science and engineering to enable interdisciplinary research in Neuroscience. The platform, called Brain-Life, tries to accomplish this by providing researchers ways to guarantee reproducibility of their research data and their algorithms, non-developers to easily run those algorithms as online applications (or apps) with published data, and data scientists to easily search and download data derivatives in standard format.

Brain Life 1

Familiar user interfaces can be launched without having to install apps or download data.

The early prototype version of this platform can be accessed at https://brain-life.org; current efforts include developing mechanisms to allow users to share data, register applications and run those applications on variety of computing resources including IU’s Karst and Carbonate clusters, BigRedII supercomputer, Open Science Grid (national D/HTC cyber infrastructure) resources, Azure, and Jetstream (the 1st production cloud funded by the NSF, grant #1445604). Brain-Life allows user submitted applications to be configured to run on any number of those resources or user's own resources. Different applications have different computational requirements, and by allowing resource owners to decide which applications to run on which resources, the project aims to achieve better use of computing resources with higher reliability and availability. Pestilli believes that this approach would allow users to focus more on scientific aspects of the application execution rather than technical aspects.

Brain Life 2

Users can download or launch visualizers to visualize generated data derivatives; above shows shows "tractviewer" which is a WebGL based tract visualizer for AFQ output.