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This section details the steps for connecting your dataset to AutoLFADS or RADICaL and then beginning a run.

The following steps have to be done everytime you want to begin an AutoLFADS or RADICaL run with a new dataset. If you already have data uploaded to the bucket, and you have already linked your run parameters, then you can proceed straight to the run model section.

At this point in the tutorial, you have already set up your cloud infrastructure. If you would like to add additional client machines, the way to do this is explained in add additional client machines section in the 'Additional Information' section.

Note, if you are re-using client machines you have created some time ago, there is a chance you might have to update your Docker image on all client machines. Instructions for doing so are in the update Docker image section.

Setting up your data

Sample datasets

This tutorial includes three sample datasets, a synthetic spiking dataset and a real EMG dataset to demonstrate AutoLFADS, and a synthetic 2-photon calcium imaging dataset to demonstrate RADICaL.

Synthetic spiking dataset

This sample synthetic dataset is derived from a Lorenz system that can be used to set-up an AutoLFADS run. This synthetic dataset is ideal to test out AutoLFADS as it is intrinsically low-D, and the inferred rates generated by AutoLFADS can easily be compared to its true rates to give a sense of the effectiveness of AutoLFADS.

The synthetic spikes dataset is located in the tutorial package, under the name spikes/lfads_data.h5.

Real EMG dataset

This sample dataset contains hindlimb EMG recorded from 12 muscles in a rat walking at a constant speed (20 m/min) on a treadmill. Data was collected in Matthew Tresch's lab by Dr. Cristiano Alessandro and previously published in Alessandro et al., eLife 2018. This dataset was used to validate using AutoLFADS to estimate multi-muscle activation from EMG in Wimalasena et al., bioRxiv 2021. The dataset contains pre-processed, rectified EMG for AutoLFADS training and also contains joint angular accelerations that can be used after model training to validate model output through a decoding analysis similar to what's presented in the paper.

The EMG dataset is located in the tutorial package, under the name emg/lfads_emg_input.h5.

Synthetic 2-photon calcium imaging dataset

This sample dataset contains simulated deconvolved calcium events and is designed to test out RADICaL. Similar to the sample spiking dataset, spike trains are generated by simulating a population of neurons whose firing rates are linked to the state of a Lorenz system. Realistic flurorescence traces are generated from the spike trains and deconvolved to extract calcium events. Importantly, the sampling times for different neurons are staggered to simulate 2p laser scanning sampling times. RADICaL takes in the deconvolved calcium events and outputs inferred event rates. The inferred event rates can then be mapped to the ground truth Lorenz states to give a sense of how effective RADICaL recovers the latent states.

The synthetic calcium dataset is located in the tutorial package, under the name calcium/lfads_cal_data.h5.


If you would like to use the datasets provided in the tutorial, you can skip the next section (Using your own neural population data), and proceed directly to the 'Uploading data' section in this page.

Using your own neural population data

If you would like to use your own neuronal population data, the data must be a .mat file with a .data attribute which contains spiking data in the format neurons x trial-length x number of trials. Furthermore, we suggest using data with a sequence length less than 100 timesteps; while there is not a clear data size limit, larger datasets are more prone to failure when running the python script. Once you have your data in a .mat file, you can use the convert_h5.m in the tutorial package to convert it to the necessary .h5 file format in order to upload it to Google Cloud Platform.

Simply open up the script, point the data field toward your .mat file and edit the lfads_input_file to point toward where you want the .h5 file to be generated. Optionally, you can also edit the valid_set_ratio variable to use a different amount of the data for validation. Once you have set these variables, you can run the script and it should output the converted .h5 file.

Uploading Data

Next, navigate back to, click on the bucket you created, and then navigate to your "data" folder. Then, upload your .h5 file here either by clicking upload file or by dragging and dropping. The .h5 file must be renamed to have the prefix specified by the data_file_namestem parameter in the file located in autolfads/pbt_opt directory of the SNEL repo. The default prefix is lfads, thus, in this tutorial we'll upload our data named lfads_data.h5 (or lfads_emg_data.h5 or lfads_cal_data.h5).

Our data folder in our bucket should now look like this with the data uploaded.

bucket data