Members of the department also have domain backgrounds in bioinformatics, electron microscopy, Instrument control, large software systems/data management, 2D and 3D Data visualization, and human/computer interfaces. Nine department members possess Ph.D.s in subjects such as computer engineering, electrical engineering, physics, neurobiology, biochemistry and computational neuroscience.
The department has produced software for visualization and 3-D rendering of neural circuits, data acquisition and control of microscopes and other instruments, and multi-user proofreading of segmentation algorithms for large electron microscopy datasets. Staff have also created systems to index and annotate image collections with over one million images, and pipelines for generation of secondary images running on the cluster to support analysis. One of the most recent projects involved building a simulated virtual maze for rodents, allowing for extremely large or physically impossible mazes.
The department has worked on a large range of project types. Some researchers simply ask for advice and guidance. Others have brought with them partial or dated codebases that require augmentation to support their research. Many projects have been greenfield development, starting from scratch on a new problem. Projects have ranged from several days to multiple years in duration. In many regards, the department is not only able to learn the scientific details necessary to effectively develop software, but it can also offer assistance in planning and development of an experiment. Additionally the department is positioned to see synergies in efforts between multiple labs that can lead to collaborations or, at least, reuse of existing software systems to reduce development time and cost.
The department operates and maintains all of Janelia’s and HHMI’s HQ storage and backup infrastructure, high performance compute cluster, and all of Linux and UNIX systems. In addition, the group is responsible for maintaining Janelia’s data center as well as Disaster Recovery resources for both Janelia and HQ.
The data production and analysis at Janelia has experienced a dramatic growth since the opening of the Institute. The department supports data storage infrastructure for storing and accessing scientific data. The group currently supports over 1.5 petabyte of primary scientific data storage and close to 1 petabyte of archival storage. The group also maintains Storage Area Network and Enterprise server, storage and backup infrastructure for both Janelia and HHMI's HQ located in Chevy Chase, MD.
The mountain of data produced by Janelia’s scientist needs to be analyzed and mined for useful information. The department supports 4000 core Linux compute cluster that can be used for all their computing needs too large for their individual workstations.