Data Science - Invited Talk, Spring 2017

Let the data flow: Data in a neurophysiology lab

Max (Massimiliano) Novelli

Rehab Neural Engineering Labs, University of Pittsburgh
Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy

Time: 11AM - 12PM, May 15, 2017
Location: Graduate Center (Room TBA)

Neurophysiology research often involves acquiring and managing a large amount of data from multiple sources and systems. Raw data are acquired in multiple formats with many different attributes during multiple recording sessions. Each session encompasses multiple acquisition modalities, producing up to 100GB of data each. Data collected includes microelectrode recordings of individual neurons, recording of muscle and whole nerve activity, stimulation patterns, body kinematics and kinetics, control signals and feedback from multiple systems, analog and digital events, as well as videos and still images. Acquisition rates range from a few Hertz to 500kHz. In an effort to manage the variety, volume, and structure of the data, we drew on previous data management experiences to build a new system that provides flexibility and platform independence, while adhering to big data approaches and methodologies.
In this talk, we will illustrate our results developing and deploying the Multipurpose Data Framework (MDF). We will present the project’s current status , the tool’s functionalities, and how it has evolved since deployment. We will highlight the data workflow adopted in the lab from data acquisition all the way to analysis, the challenges involved in managing such a complex system, and how we have addressed those challenges.


Max (Massimiliano) Novelli is a Software Engineer with a graduate Laurea from Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy. Max has over 20 years of experience in the IT field . Max’s extensive background as a system administrator, software engineer and programmer help him to play a critical role in research environments, leverage technology to bridge the gap between data and users. Max started playing with a Commodore 16 a long time ago. However, since that time he has grown significantly to become an expert in the field with vast understanding of Open Source software, Linux operating systems, Web technologies, Drupal CMS, Data Management, and Big Data. Max’s expertise includes considerable knowledge about sophisticated computing infrastructure and large storage systems targeted for research environments (specifically fMRI, MEG, EEG and neurophysiology research laboratories). His latest research interests are big data and data architecture: primarily the management, organization and automation of structured and unstructured data, including metadata (descriptive data). When Max is not lost in "computer land", he enjoys spending time with his family and friends, playing with his sons, biking, cross-country skiing, traveling, practicing and teaching yoga, cooking, eating good food, and sipping a good glass of wine.