TVB-EduPack—An Interactive Learning and Scripting Platform for The Virtual Brain
Raúl Rojas, Henrik Matzke, Michael Schirner, Daniel Vollbrecht, Simon Rothmeier, Adalberto Llarena, Paul Triebkorn, Lia Domide, Jochen Mersmann, Ana Solodkin, Viktor Jirsa, Anthony Randal McIntosh, Petra Ritter – 2015
The Virtual Brain (TVB; thevirtualbrain.org) is a neuroinformatics platform for full brain network simulation based on individual anatomical connectivity data. The framework addresses clinical and neuroscientific questions by simulating multi-scale neural dynamics that range from local population activity to large-scale brain function and related macroscopic signals like electroencephalography and functional magnetic resonance imaging. TVB is equipped with a graphical and a command-line interface to create models that capture the characteristic biological variability to predict the brain activity of individual subjects. To enable researchers from various backgrounds a quick start into TVB and brain network modeling in general, we developed an educational module: TVB-EduPack. EduPack offers two educational functionalities that seamlessly integrate into TVB's graphical user interface (GUI): (i) interactive tutorials introduce GUI elements, guide through the basic mechanics of software usage and develop complex use-case scenarios; animations, videos and textual descriptions transport essential principles of computational neuroscience and brain modeling; (ii) an automatic script generator records model parameters and produces input files for TVB's Python programming interface; thereby, simulation configurations can be exported as scripts that allow flexible customization of the modeling process and self-defined batch- and post-processing applications while benefitting from the full power of the Python language and its toolboxes. This article covers the implementation of TVB-EduPack and its integration into TVB architecture. Like TVB, EduPack is an open source community project that lives from the participation and contribution of its users. TVB-EduPack can be obtained as part of TVB from thevirtualbrain.org.