What is Neuroinformatics ?
Neuroinformatics attempts to synthesize the diverse and complex information emerging in neuroscience by integrating tools generated in information science.
The three principal aims of neuroinformatics are :
- To optimize the accumulation, storage, and sharing of vast amounts of primary data and of large, structured neuroscience databases. As described above, the data are of an enormous diversity. The most immediate goal is to develop standards and mechanisms for sharing the vast amount of data among researchers.
- To develop tools for manipulating and managing the data. Although many relevant techniques have already been developed in other fields, the neuroscience community must collectively design and develop special-purpose analytical tools and algorithms that are optimal for their needs. It is likely that, in the near future, large databases will play a similar role in neuroscience as they already do in genomics, where the existence of very large bodies of data, and of tools to navigate and manipulate these data, leads to breakthroughs in understanding and important commercial applications linked to human health. It is anticipated that some of these tools will, in turn, be of great benefit to researchers in various branches of the information sciences as they deal with problems (such as machine learning, robotic task planning, etc.) that are related to brain function in humans and other organisms.
- To create computational models of brain structure and function that can be validated using the data. As in all of science, the understanding of the systems and phenomena under study involves the development of models that are not just descriptive but predictive and explanatory as well. In this case, the systems and phenomena are among the most difficult to model: from the molecular--/--cellular up to perception, learning, memory, reasoning, etc. The only way to validate models of these sophisticated phenomena is through confrontation with the data sets of neuroscience, using tools developed via neuroinformatics.
International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility (INCF) was established through the OECD Global Science Forum
The Global Science Forum (GSF) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) organizes working groups in several specialist areas of sciences. These working groups develop recommendations for international coordinated efforts in the OECD member countries and other collaborating nations. With the support of the ministers of research in the OECD area, several activities have been initiated in areas including particle physics and biodiversity information. GSF initiated a new international organization, INCF, to further the development of Neuroinformatics as a global effort.
Neuroinformatlcs combines neuroscience and informatics research
Neuroinformatics deals with development and application of advanced tools and approaches essential for major advancement in understanding the structure and function of the brain. The field covers three primary areas:
- Neuroscience data and knowledge bases which are increasingly capable of handling the full complexity and organization of the nervous system, from molecular to behavioral levels
- Tools for data-acquisition, analysis, visualization and distribution. of nervous system data
- Theoretical, computational and simulation environments for modeling of understanding the brain
The mission of the INCF
- Coordinate and foster international activities in neuroinformatics
- Contribute to the development and maintenance of database and computational infrastructure
- Establish support mechanisms for scalable, portable, and extensible neuroscience applications that can be used by neuroscience laboratories
- Develop mechanisms for the seamless flow of information and knowledge between academia, private enterprises and the publication industry
The neuroinformatics infrastructure will enable access to all freely accessible data and analysis resources for human brain research to the international research community.
INCF expects each national node to:
- Actively formulate and implement the INCF Work Programs
- Coordinate and facilitate local neuroinformatics research activities at the national level
- Encourage neuroinformatics data sharing that conforms with INCF standards
- Promote neuroinformatics development that supports the goals of INCF
INCF National Nodes
18 countries join INCF as INCF National Nodes.