Online workbenches for neural network connections

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The nervous system is the most complex object we know of. It is a spatially distributed, functionally differentiated network formed by axonal connections between defined neuron populations and effector cells. Computer science provides exciting new tools for archiving, analyzing, synthesizing, and modeling on the Web vast amounts of frequently conflicting and incomplete qualitative and quantitative data about the organization and molecular mechanisms of neural networks. To optimize conceptual advances in systems neuroscience, it is important for the research and publishing communities to embrace three exercises: using defined nomenclatures; populating databases; and providing feedback to developers about improved design, performance, and functionality of knowledge management systems and associated visualization tools. J. Comp. Neurol. 500:807–814, 2007. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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