Julia Neuro

Julia for Neuroscience

Since the start of my PhD Julia has been my programming language of choice for doing anything analysis related and a whole lot more. If you haven’t come across it yet then the tl;dr is that Julia solves the “two-language problem” - i.e. we can quickly prototype an analysis in the same language we use for writing a super-performant version. If you want to know more about why Julia Computing (who support enterprise use of the language) just got more than $4 million in funding then have a look here.

tl;dr … Julia solves the “two-language problem”: It’s Fast & Easy/Concise!

Nonetheless, because the language is still pretty new there are still relatively few (cf. Python) well-developed, actively maintained & user-friendly packages for sub-domains like neuroscience. So this coming SFN (Society for Neuroscience conference) a few neuroscientists who have already cottoned on to Julia’s potential in our field will be meeting to have a chat about how to move forward in collating & supporting the maintenance of key neuro-relevant packages for Julia. Exact day/time TBD but if you want to be kept in the loop then please get in touch (email: [email protected]).

I’ve copied a draft proposal for the project below; and more info can be found at the project’s website or on github.


Proposal

Building a community of both julia users & developers around the field of neuroscience. Most of the mathematical and analytical techniques that are used in neuroscience are covered under other Julia umbrellas (e.g. Digital Signal Processing, Image Analysis, ML etc.). Thus the aim of this group would be to serve as a hub to show/and develop these in neuro-specific use cases. This might be especially important for attracting new neuroscientists to Julia who might otherwise consider themselves uncatered for.

Julia Neuro Could (potentially) Provide:

  • A channel/tag on the julia discourse group for neuroscience related questions -or a gitter/slack channel for collaboration on package-development
  • Build a bank of tutorials (notebooks) that use julia for neuroscience (these can either be new or translations of old tutorials written in other languages) Exposure
  • A github organisation to host repositories that facilitate any neuroscience related analyses.
  • A website providing exposure for neuroscience-related packages packages + links to funding, meetups etc.
  • Building up a list (& a highlights roll) of use-cases for julia in neuroscience. i.e. papers & analyses that have been developed in the language, along with stories of how the specifics of julia-lang helped/hindered along the way. Funding?
  • Obtain and distribute funding for the development & maintenance of neuroscience packages written in Julia
  • Ditto for meetups