Collaboration between neuroscientists and computer scientists is necessary to make both new and old neuroscience data more accessible and more useful to the research community, and to advance our understanding of the brain at a much faster rate than previously possible.
The amount of data that can be generated in a typical neuroscience lab grows at an amazing rate, but our collected knowledge about the brain lags behind since condensing all these data sets into a coherent picture is an increasingly complex task.
There are many different pieces of the puzzle that need to be brought into place, such as fitting together data that comes from vastly different timescales, finding better ways to store, analyze and share giant datasets, comparing animals with very different nervous systems, and linking findings on the molecular level to their effects on single cells as well as the whole brain.
Neuroinformatics tools and resources
Within its programs and through collaborations with other groups, INCF has in the past decade developed or supported a number of tools and resources for neuroscientists that provides standards, infrastructure, or software. INCF is also a mentor for Google Summer of Code, and organizes and supports tool development and hackathons on various neuroscientific topics.
Global brain initiatives
Major brain initiatives have been launched in US, Europe, Japan and Korea, and by the privately funded Allen Institute for Brain Science, and additional projects are being planned in Australia, China and Taiwan. These projects all aim to improve our understanding of the brain, and drive a need for development of neuroscience standards, infrastructure and data management to make collaborations within and between projects possible. INCF helps coordinate standards development and other efforts between the initiatives.
Neuroscience tool developers are an important part of the neuroinformatics community. Bringing them together usually sparks many useful new ideas and tool improvements.