Evaluating data structures for range queries in brain simulations

University essay from KTH/Skolan för elektroteknik och datavetenskap (EECS)

Abstract: Our brain and nervous system is a vital organ to us, since it is from there our thoughts, personalities, and other mental capacities originate. Within this field of neuroscience a common method of study is to build and run large scale brain simulations where up to hundred thousand neurons are used to produce a model of a brain in three dimensional space. To find all neurites within a specific area is to perform a range query. A vast number of range queries are required when running brain simulations which makes it important that the data structure used to store the simulated neurons is efficient. This study evaluate three common data structures, also called spatial index; the R-tree, Quadtree and R'-tree (Rstar-tree). We test their performance for range queries with regards to execution time, incurred reads, build time, size of data and density of data. The data used is models of a typical neuron so that the characteristics of the data set is preserved. The results show that the R'-tree outperforms the other indices by being significantly more efficient compared to the others, with the R-tree having slightly worse performance than the Quadtree. The time it takes to build the index is to be almost identical for all implementations.

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