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DIADEM Challenge

The DIADEM Competition – short for Digital Reconstruction of Axonal and Dendritic Morphology – was concluded in September 2010.  

Five teams of algorithm developers competed in a tournament at the Janelia Farm Research Campus.Press release from Howard Hughes Medical Institute

The judges commended each of the teams for developing original and creative ideas that would help in solving the difficult problem of automated image reconstruction, and $75,000 in prize money was distributed among four teams.

The prize has been established by the Allen Institute for Brain Science and the Janelia Farm Research Campus of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The National Institutes of Health is providing support for a scientific conference that is independent of – but held in conjunction with – the tournament phase of the DIADEM Challenge.

Background

Neuroscientists map the tree-like structure of nerve cells to better understand how networks of neurons assemble into circuits to enable complex behavior. Despite the advent of computer technology that enables mapping in three dimensions, neuronal reconstructions are still largely performed by hand and reconstructing a single cell may take months. The vast majority of axons (the long neuronal projections that transmit information to neighboring cells) and dendrites (the branches on nerve cells that receive information from neighboring cells) must be traced manually.

The lack of powerful – and effective – computational tools to automatically reconstruct neuronal arbors has emerged as a major technical bottleneck in neuroscience research. 

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Full details about the DIADEM Challenge can be found at:
www.diademchallenge.org