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Nat Neurosci. 2011 Feb;14(2):139-42. doi: 10.1038/nn.2731.

How advances in neural recording affect data analysis.

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Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Northwestern University and Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA.


Over the last five decades, progress in neural recording techniques has allowed the number of simultaneously recorded neurons to double approximately every 7 years, mimicking Moore's law. Such exponential growth motivates us to ask how data analysis techniques are affected by progressively larger numbers of recorded neurons. Traditionally, neurons are analyzed independently on the basis of their tuning to stimuli or movement. Although tuning curve approaches are unaffected by growing numbers of simultaneously recorded neurons, newly developed techniques that analyze interactions between neurons become more accurate and more complex as the number of recorded neurons increases. Emerging data analysis techniques should consider both the computational costs and the potential for more accurate models associated with this exponential growth of the number of recorded neurons.

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