What is CBRAIN?
CBRAIN is web-based software that allows neuroimaging researchers to perform computationally intensive analyses on data by connecting them to High-Performance Computing (HPC) facilities across Canada and around the world. CBRAIN connects researchers to the tools and processing power required to handle the large neuroimaging datasets that have become the norm in the field. It does so while at the same time reducing the technical expertise required to use these resources. No computer programming skills are required and it is not necessary to install any software. All that is required is a modern web browser of any kind. A range of neuroimaging analysis tools are available, as well as cutting edge 2D and 3D real-time visualization to view the brain imaging data. CBRAIN is an open-source software project hosted on GitHub.
Visit CBRAIN Portal
CBRAIN is currently connected to 6 Compute Canada HPC clusters, one German HPC cluster and 3 clusters local to McGill University campus, totaling more than 80,000 CPU cores. Launching jobs and tracking their status can be done through a user friendly web interface. CBRAIN handles all data transfer to and from the clusters as well as any setup of the cluster environment required for processing. Once processing is complete, CBRAIN automatically transfers the data back to the user’s account.
Increasingly, in recent years, collaborative research has become the norm. CBRAIN allows for collaboration among researchers in ways that were previously impossible. With a few simple clicks, researchers can share their analysis tools, compute resources or data with other researchers from around the globe and with the same simplicity, they can restrict access to them.
In order to make it easy for any user to adopt the CBRAIN platform, everything is done through the web browser. Users can perform many different types of tasks, such as file and project organization, launching and monitoring of HPC jobs, visualization of results or even exploration of 3D brain models, all within the web browser.
CBRAIN allows users to manage data over vastly disparate geographical locations as if it were all in a single data store. The user simply selects a number of files, wherever they are located, and then chooses the operation to be performed through a user-friendly web interface, such as a file transfer, a visualization or massive processing job on a remote HPC. CBRAIN ensures that all data is where it needs to be for the operation and then transfers it back to the user once the operation is complete.
All files and other system resources are managed in such a way that users only see what they have a right to. This includes file, projects, compute tools, file storage and cluster access.
- Sherif T, Rioux P, Rousseau M-E, Kassis N, Beck N, Adalat R, Das S, Glatard T and Evans AC (2014) CBRAIN: a web-based, distributed computing platform for collaborative neuroimaging research. Front. Neuroinform. 8:54. doi: 10.3389/fninf.2014.00054
- Glatard, T.; Rousseau, M.-E.; Rioux, P.; Adalat, R.; Evans, A.C., “Controlling the Deployment of Virtual Machines on Clusters and Clouds for Scientific Computing in CBRAIN,” Cluster, Cloud and Grid Computing (CCGrid), 2014 14th IEEE/ACM International Symposium on , vol., no., pp.384,393, 26-29 May 2014 doi: 10.1109/CCGrid.2014.42