Review

Big data and the industrialization of neuroscience: A safe roadmap for understanding the brain?

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Science  27 Oct 2017:
Vol. 358, Issue 6362, pp. 470-477
DOI: 10.1126/science.aan8866

Figures

  • Fig. 1 The hierarchy of analysis levels [inspired by David Marr (54)].

    The three levels of Marr’s hierarchy illustrated are (from top to bottom) function and computation at the higher level (3), algorithm at the intermediate level (2), and biophysical substrate at the lower level (1). Reductionist approaches progress from levels 3 to 1, whereas constructionism goes the opposite way, from 1 to 3. Two examples of the three-level analysis are given for two different biological processes: action potential (middle column) and synaptic plasticity (right column). The two upper levels of Marr’s hierarchy define the field of computational neuroscience (red inset), the scope of which is to identify generic computations and functions and their underlying algorithms, independently of the biophysical substrate of the process under study.

  • Fig. 2 Building brain sciences through “economics of promises”?

    Promises based on data-driven exploration and modeling of the human brain share similarities and even inspiration with the imagery of science fiction. They become the scientific justification for the capture of large-scale funding.

    CREDIT: ZAP ART/GETTY IMAGES
  • Conceptual illustration: The Mind-Body Problem.CREDIT: ARTWORK: EBERHARDT E. FETZ, COURTESY WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY

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