skip to main content

Title: A scale-dependent measure of system dimensionality
A fundamental problem in science is uncovering the effective number of degrees of freedom in a complex system: its dimensionality. A system’s dimensionality depends on its spatiotemporal scale. Here, we introduce a scale-dependent generalization of a classic enumeration of latent variables, the participation ratio. We demonstrate how the scale-dependent participation ratio identifies the appropriate dimension at local, intermediate, and global scales in several systems such as the Lorenz attractor, hidden Markov models, and switching linear dynamical systems. We show analytically how, at different limiting scales, the scale-dependent participation ratio relates to well-established measures of dimensionality. This measure applied in neural population recordings across multiple brain areas and brain states shows fundamental trends in the dimensionality of neural activity—for example, in behaviorally engaged versus spontaneous states. Our novel method unifies widely used measures of dimensionality and applies broadly to multivariate data across several fields of science.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
2024364 2019976
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Page Range / eLocation ID:
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    There is strong agreement in science teacher education of the importance of teachers' content knowledge for teaching (CKT), which includes their subject matter knowledge and their pedagogical content knowledge. However, there are limited instruments that can be easily administered and scored on a large scale to assess and study elementary science teachers' CKT. Such measures would support strategic monitoring of large groups of science teachers' CKT and the investigation of comparative questions about science teachers' CKT longitudinally across the professional continuum or across teacher education or professional development sites. To address this gap, this study focused on designing an automatically scorable summative assessment that can be used to measure preservice elementary teachers' (PSETs') CKT in one high‐leverage science content area: matter and its interactions. We conducted a field test of this CKT instrument with 822 PSETs from across the United States and used the response data to examine how this instrument functions as a potential tool for measuring PSETs' CKT in this science content area. Results suggest this instrument is reliable and can be used on large scale to support valid inferences about PSETs' CKT in this content area. In addition, the dimensionality analysis showed that all items measure a single construct of CKT about matter and its interactions, as participants did not show any differential performance by content topic or work of teaching science instructional tool categories. Implications for progressing the field's understanding of the nature of CKT and approaches to developing summative instruments to assess science teachers' CKT are discussed.

    more » « less
  2. INTRODUCTION A brainwide, synaptic-resolution connectivity map—a connectome—is essential for understanding how the brain generates behavior. However because of technological constraints imaging entire brains with electron microscopy (EM) and reconstructing circuits from such datasets has been challenging. To date, complete connectomes have been mapped for only three organisms, each with several hundred brain neurons: the nematode C. elegans , the larva of the sea squirt Ciona intestinalis , and of the marine annelid Platynereis dumerilii . Synapse-resolution circuit diagrams of larger brains, such as insects, fish, and mammals, have been approached by considering select subregions in isolation. However, neural computations span spatially dispersed but interconnected brain regions, and understanding any one computation requires the complete brain connectome with all its inputs and outputs. RATIONALE We therefore generated a connectome of an entire brain of a small insect, the larva of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. This animal displays a rich behavioral repertoire, including learning, value computation, and action selection, and shares homologous brain structures with adult Drosophila and larger insects. Powerful genetic tools are available for selective manipulation or recording of individual neuron types. In this tractable model system, hypotheses about the functional roles of specific neurons and circuit motifs revealed by the connectome can therefore be readily tested. RESULTS The complete synaptic-resolution connectome of the Drosophila larval brain comprises 3016 neurons and 548,000 synapses. We performed a detailed analysis of the brain circuit architecture, including connection and neuron types, network hubs, and circuit motifs. Most of the brain’s in-out hubs (73%) were postsynaptic to the learning center or presynaptic to the dopaminergic neurons that drive learning. We used graph spectral embedding to hierarchically cluster neurons based on synaptic connectivity into 93 neuron types, which were internally consistent based on other features, such as morphology and function. We developed an algorithm to track brainwide signal propagation across polysynaptic pathways and analyzed feedforward (from sensory to output) and feedback pathways, multisensory integration, and cross-hemisphere interactions. We found extensive multisensory integration throughout the brain and multiple interconnected pathways of varying depths from sensory neurons to output neurons forming a distributed processing network. The brain had a highly recurrent architecture, with 41% of neurons receiving long-range recurrent input. However, recurrence was not evenly distributed and was especially high in areas implicated in learning and action selection. Dopaminergic neurons that drive learning are amongst the most recurrent neurons in the brain. Many contralateral neurons, which projected across brain hemispheres, were in-out hubs and synapsed onto each other, facilitating extensive interhemispheric communication. We also analyzed interactions between the brain and nerve cord. We found that descending neurons targeted a small fraction of premotor elements that could play important roles in switching between locomotor states. A subset of descending neurons targeted low-order post-sensory interneurons likely modulating sensory processing. CONCLUSION The complete brain connectome of the Drosophila larva will be a lasting reference study, providing a basis for a multitude of theoretical and experimental studies of brain function. The approach and computational tools generated in this study will facilitate the analysis of future connectomes. Although the details of brain organization differ across the animal kingdom, many circuit architectures are conserved. As more brain connectomes of other organisms are mapped in the future, comparisons between them will reveal both common and therefore potentially optimal circuit architectures, as well as the idiosyncratic ones that underlie behavioral differences between organisms. Some of the architectural features observed in the Drosophila larval brain, including multilayer shortcuts and prominent nested recurrent loops, are found in state-of-the-art artificial neural networks, where they can compensate for a lack of network depth and support arbitrary, task-dependent computations. Such features could therefore increase the brain’s computational capacity, overcoming physiological constraints on the number of neurons. Future analysis of similarities and differences between brains and artificial neural networks may help in understanding brain computational principles and perhaps inspire new machine learning architectures. The connectome of the Drosophila larval brain. The morphologies of all brain neurons, reconstructed from a synapse-resolution EM volume, and the synaptic connectivity matrix of an entire brain. This connectivity information was used to hierarchically cluster all brains into 93 cell types, which were internally consistent based on morphology and known function. 
    more » « less
  3. Obeid, Iyad Selesnick (Ed.)
    Electroencephalography (EEG) is a popular clinical monitoring tool used for diagnosing brain-related disorders such as epilepsy [1]. As monitoring EEGs in a critical-care setting is an expensive and tedious task, there is a great interest in developing real-time EEG monitoring tools to improve patient care quality and efficiency [2]. However, clinicians require automatic seizure detection tools that provide decisions with at least 75% sensitivity and less than 1 false alarm (FA) per 24 hours [3]. Some commercial tools recently claim to reach such performance levels, including the Olympic Brainz Monitor [4] and Persyst 14 [5]. In this abstract, we describe our efforts to transform a high-performance offline seizure detection system [3] into a low latency real-time or online seizure detection system. An overview of the system is shown in Figure 1. The main difference between an online versus offline system is that an online system should always be causal and has minimum latency which is often defined by domain experts. The offline system, shown in Figure 2, uses two phases of deep learning models with postprocessing [3]. The channel-based long short term memory (LSTM) model (Phase 1 or P1) processes linear frequency cepstral coefficients (LFCC) [6] features from each EEG channel separately. We use the hypotheses generated by the P1 model and create additional features that carry information about the detected events and their confidence. The P2 model uses these additional features and the LFCC features to learn the temporal and spatial aspects of the EEG signals using a hybrid convolutional neural network (CNN) and LSTM model. Finally, Phase 3 aggregates the results from both P1 and P2 before applying a final postprocessing step. The online system implements Phase 1 by taking advantage of the Linux piping mechanism, multithreading techniques, and multi-core processors. To convert Phase 1 into an online system, we divide the system into five major modules: signal preprocessor, feature extractor, event decoder, postprocessor, and visualizer. The system reads 0.1-second frames from each EEG channel and sends them to the feature extractor and the visualizer. The feature extractor generates LFCC features in real time from the streaming EEG signal. Next, the system computes seizure and background probabilities using a channel-based LSTM model and applies a postprocessor to aggregate the detected events across channels. The system then displays the EEG signal and the decisions simultaneously using a visualization module. The online system uses C++, Python, TensorFlow, and PyQtGraph in its implementation. The online system accepts streamed EEG data sampled at 250 Hz as input. The system begins processing the EEG signal by applying a TCP montage [8]. Depending on the type of the montage, the EEG signal can have either 22 or 20 channels. To enable the online operation, we send 0.1-second (25 samples) length frames from each channel of the streamed EEG signal to the feature extractor and the visualizer. Feature extraction is performed sequentially on each channel. The signal preprocessor writes the sample frames into two streams to facilitate these modules. In the first stream, the feature extractor receives the signals using stdin. In parallel, as a second stream, the visualizer shares a user-defined file with the signal preprocessor. This user-defined file holds raw signal information as a buffer for the visualizer. The signal preprocessor writes into the file while the visualizer reads from it. Reading and writing into the same file poses a challenge. The visualizer can start reading while the signal preprocessor is writing into it. To resolve this issue, we utilize a file locking mechanism in the signal preprocessor and visualizer. Each of the processes temporarily locks the file, performs its operation, releases the lock, and tries to obtain the lock after a waiting period. The file locking mechanism ensures that only one process can access the file by prohibiting other processes from reading or writing while one process is modifying the file [9]. The feature extractor uses circular buffers to save 0.3 seconds or 75 samples from each channel for extracting 0.2-second or 50-sample long center-aligned windows. The module generates 8 absolute LFCC features where the zeroth cepstral coefficient is replaced by a temporal domain energy term. For extracting the rest of the features, three pipelines are used. The differential energy feature is calculated in a 0.9-second absolute feature window with a frame size of 0.1 seconds. The difference between the maximum and minimum temporal energy terms is calculated in this range. Then, the first derivative or the delta features are calculated using another 0.9-second window. Finally, the second derivative or delta-delta features are calculated using a 0.3-second window [6]. The differential energy for the delta-delta features is not included. In total, we extract 26 features from the raw sample windows which add 1.1 seconds of delay to the system. We used the Temple University Hospital Seizure Database (TUSZ) v1.2.1 for developing the online system [10]. The statistics for this dataset are shown in Table 1. A channel-based LSTM model was trained using the features derived from the train set using the online feature extractor module. A window-based normalization technique was applied to those features. In the offline model, we scale features by normalizing using the maximum absolute value of a channel [11] before applying a sliding window approach. Since the online system has access to a limited amount of data, we normalize based on the observed window. The model uses the feature vectors with a frame size of 1 second and a window size of 7 seconds. We evaluated the model using the offline P1 postprocessor to determine the efficacy of the delayed features and the window-based normalization technique. As shown by the results of experiments 1 and 4 in Table 2, these changes give us a comparable performance to the offline model. The online event decoder module utilizes this trained model for computing probabilities for the seizure and background classes. These posteriors are then postprocessed to remove spurious detections. The online postprocessor receives and saves 8 seconds of class posteriors in a buffer for further processing. It applies multiple heuristic filters (e.g., probability threshold) to make an overall decision by combining events across the channels. These filters evaluate the average confidence, the duration of a seizure, and the channels where the seizures were observed. The postprocessor delivers the label and confidence to the visualizer. The visualizer starts to display the signal as soon as it gets access to the signal file, as shown in Figure 1 using the “Signal File” and “Visualizer” blocks. Once the visualizer receives the label and confidence for the latest epoch from the postprocessor, it overlays the decision and color codes that epoch. The visualizer uses red for seizure with the label SEIZ and green for the background class with the label BCKG. Once the streaming finishes, the system saves three files: a signal file in which the sample frames are saved in the order they were streamed, a time segmented event (TSE) file with the overall decisions and confidences, and a hypotheses (HYP) file that saves the label and confidence for each epoch. The user can plot the signal and decisions using the signal and HYP files with only the visualizer by enabling appropriate options. For comparing the performance of different stages of development, we used the test set of TUSZ v1.2.1 database. It contains 1015 EEG records of varying duration. The any-overlap performance [12] of the overall system shown in Figure 2 is 40.29% sensitivity with 5.77 FAs per 24 hours. For comparison, the previous state-of-the-art model developed on this database performed at 30.71% sensitivity with 6.77 FAs per 24 hours [3]. The individual performances of the deep learning phases are as follows: Phase 1’s (P1) performance is 39.46% sensitivity and 11.62 FAs per 24 hours, and Phase 2 detects seizures with 41.16% sensitivity and 11.69 FAs per 24 hours. We trained an LSTM model with the delayed features and the window-based normalization technique for developing the online system. Using the offline decoder and postprocessor, the model performed at 36.23% sensitivity with 9.52 FAs per 24 hours. The trained model was then evaluated with the online modules. The current performance of the overall online system is 45.80% sensitivity with 28.14 FAs per 24 hours. Table 2 summarizes the performances of these systems. The performance of the online system deviates from the offline P1 model because the online postprocessor fails to combine the events as the seizure probability fluctuates during an event. The modules in the online system add a total of 11.1 seconds of delay for processing each second of the data, as shown in Figure 3. In practice, we also count the time for loading the model and starting the visualizer block. When we consider these facts, the system consumes 15 seconds to display the first hypothesis. The system detects seizure onsets with an average latency of 15 seconds. Implementing an automatic seizure detection model in real time is not trivial. We used a variety of techniques such as the file locking mechanism, multithreading, circular buffers, real-time event decoding, and signal-decision plotting to realize the system. A video demonstrating the system is available at: The final conference submission will include a more detailed analysis of the online performance of each module. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Research reported in this publication was most recently supported by the National Science Foundation Partnership for Innovation award number IIP-1827565 and the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Universal Research Enhancement Program (PA CURE). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official views of any of these organizations. REFERENCES [1] A. Craik, Y. He, and J. L. Contreras-Vidal, “Deep learning for electroencephalogram (EEG) classification tasks: a review,” J. Neural Eng., vol. 16, no. 3, p. 031001, 2019. [2] A. C. Bridi, T. Q. Louro, and R. C. L. Da Silva, “Clinical Alarms in intensive care: implications of alarm fatigue for the safety of patients,” Rev. Lat. Am. Enfermagem, vol. 22, no. 6, p. 1034, 2014. [3] M. Golmohammadi, V. Shah, I. Obeid, and J. Picone, “Deep Learning Approaches for Automatic Seizure Detection from Scalp Electroencephalograms,” in Signal Processing in Medicine and Biology: Emerging Trends in Research and Applications, 1st ed., I. Obeid, I. Selesnick, and J. Picone, Eds. New York, New York, USA: Springer, 2020, pp. 233–274. [4] “CFM Olympic Brainz Monitor.” [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 17-Jul-2020]. [5] M. L. Scheuer, S. B. Wilson, A. Antony, G. Ghearing, A. Urban, and A. I. Bagic, “Seizure Detection: Interreader Agreement and Detection Algorithm Assessments Using a Large Dataset,” J. Clin. Neurophysiol., 2020. [6] A. Harati, M. Golmohammadi, S. Lopez, I. Obeid, and J. Picone, “Improved EEG Event Classification Using Differential Energy,” in Proceedings of the IEEE Signal Processing in Medicine and Biology Symposium, 2015, pp. 1–4. [7] V. Shah, C. Campbell, I. Obeid, and J. Picone, “Improved Spatio-Temporal Modeling in Automated Seizure Detection using Channel-Dependent Posteriors,” Neurocomputing, 2021. [8] W. Tatum, A. Husain, S. Benbadis, and P. Kaplan, Handbook of EEG Interpretation. New York City, New York, USA: Demos Medical Publishing, 2007. [9] D. P. Bovet and C. Marco, Understanding the Linux Kernel, 3rd ed. O’Reilly Media, Inc., 2005. [10] V. Shah et al., “The Temple University Hospital Seizure Detection Corpus,” Front. Neuroinform., vol. 12, pp. 1–6, 2018. [11] F. Pedregosa et al., “Scikit-learn: Machine Learning in Python,” J. Mach. Learn. Res., vol. 12, pp. 2825–2830, 2011. [12] J. Gotman, D. Flanagan, J. Zhang, and B. Rosenblatt, “Automatic seizure detection in the newborn: Methods and initial evaluation,” Electroencephalogr. Clin. Neurophysiol., vol. 103, no. 3, pp. 356–362, 1997. 
    more » « less
  4. New Findings

    What is the topic of this review?

    The vagus nerve is a crucial regulator of cardiovascular homeostasis, and its activity is linked to heart health. Vagal activity originates from two brainstem nuclei: the nucleus ambiguus (fast lane) and the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus (slow lane), nicknamed for the time scales that they require to transmit signals.

    What advances does it highlight?

    Computational models are powerful tools for organizing multi‐scale, multimodal data on the fast and slow lanes in a physiologically meaningful way. A strategy is laid out for how these models can guide experiments aimed at harnessing the cardiovascular health benefits of differential activation of the fast and slow lanes.


    The vagus nerve is a key mediator of brain–heart signaling, and its activity is necessary for cardiovascular health. Vagal outflow stems from the nucleus ambiguus, responsible primarily for fast, beat‐to‐beat regulation of heart rate and rhythm, and the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus, responsible primarily for slow regulation of ventricular contractility. Due to the high‐dimensional and multimodal nature of the anatomical, molecular and physiological data on neural regulation of cardiac function, data‐derived mechanistic insights have proven elusive. Elucidating insights has been complicated further by the broad distribution of the data across heart, brain and peripheral nervous system circuits. Here we lay out an integrative framework based on computational modelling for combining these disparate and multi‐scale data on the two vagal control lanes of the cardiovascular system. Newly available molecular‐scale data, particularly single‐cell transcriptomic analyses, have augmented our understanding of the heterogeneous neuronal states underlying vagally mediated fast and slow regulation of cardiac physiology. Cellular‐scale computational models built from these data sets represent building blocks that can be combined using anatomical and neural circuit connectivity, neuronal electrophysiology, and organ/organismal‐scale physiology data to create multi‐system, multi‐scale models that enablein silicoexploration of the fast versus slow lane vagal stimulation. The insights from the computational modelling and analyses will guide new experimental questions on the mechanisms regulating the fast and slow lanes of the cardiac vagus toward exploiting targeted vagal neuromodulatory activity to promote cardiovascular health.

    more » « less
  5. The structure of neural circuitry plays a crucial role in brain function. Previous studies of brain organization generally had to trade off between coarse descriptions at a large scale and fine descriptions on a small scale. Researchers have now reconstructed tens to hundreds of thousands of neurons at synaptic resolution, enabling investigations into the interplay between global, modular organization, and cell type-specific wiring. Analyzing data of this scale, however, presents unique challenges. To address this problem, we applied novel community detection methods to analyze the synapse-level reconstruction of an adult femaleDrosophila melanogasterbrain containing >20,000 neurons and 10 million synapses. Using a machine-learning algorithm, we find the most densely connected communities of neurons by maximizing a generalized modularity density measure. We resolve the community structure at a range of scales, from large (on the order of thousands of neurons) to small (on the order of tens of neurons). We find that the network is organized hierarchically, and larger-scale communities are composed of smaller-scale structures. Our methods identify well-known features of the fly brain, including its sensory pathways. Moreover, focusing on specific brain regions, we are able to identify subnetworks with distinct connectivity types. For example, manual efforts have identified layered structures in the fan-shaped body. Our methods not only automatically recover this layered structure, but also resolve finer connectivity patterns to downstream and upstream areas. We also find a novel modular organization of the superior neuropil, with distinct clusters of upstream and downstream brain regions dividing the neuropil into several pathways. These methods show that the fine-scale, local network reconstruction made possible by modern experimental methods are sufficiently detailed to identify the organization of the brain across scales, and enable novel predictions about the structure and function of its parts.

    Significance StatementThe Hemibrain is a partial connectome of an adult femaleDrosophila melanogasterbrain containing >20,000 neurons and 10 million synapses. Analyzing the structure of a network of this size requires novel and efficient computational tools. We applied a new community detection method to automatically uncover the modular structure in the Hemibrain dataset by maximizing a generalized modularity measure. This allowed us to resolve the community structure of the fly hemibrain at a range of spatial scales revealing a hierarchical organization of the network, where larger-scale modules are composed of smaller-scale structures. The method also allowed us to identify subnetworks with distinct cell and connectivity structures, such as the layered structures in the fan-shaped body, and the modular organization of the superior neuropil. Thus, network analysis methods can be adopted to the connectomes being reconstructed using modern experimental methods to reveal the organization of the brain across scales. This supports the view that such connectomes will allow us to uncover the organizational structure of the brain, which can ultimately lead to a better understanding of its function.

    more » « less