tion of every reported finding in neuroscience. More important, the mass of detailed information being generated at every level of neural organization is impossible to grasp with conventional means. The investigator seeking information at even a single hierarchical level or in regard to a specific neurobiological mechanism is often daunted by how widely scattered that information may be throughout scores of different journals, review papers, symposia summaries, and books.
Computer and information sciences have made impressive advances in the past decade. The development of database technology has given all fields of science new ways of organizing and retrieving data, and research into even more sophisticated database designs is beginning to bear fruit. Emerging object-oriented database technology, for example, will permit improved manipulation and exchange of electronic images, it is hoped, by the end of this decade. Such an advance is of particular importance to neuroscience, characterized by many as a “visual science.” Graphic imaging is another area of computer science that has grown rapidly to a high level of sophistication. Generation of two-and three-dimensional graphic images is becoming fast and simple, and the ability to interact with such images has endowed researchers with a high degree of flexibility in the use of these images. The combination of high-quality graphics capabilities and powerful data collection and analysis workstations promises to be an unprecedented resource for neuroscientists. It is already the case that substantial amounts of neuroscience data are collected and analyzed using a variety of computers and workstations, which run many different software programs and employ a wealth of utilities and tools. Further, the infrastructure is now under construction to link these and other, more highly developed computerized research environments through high-speed computer networks capable of transmitting text and image data in reasonable time frames.
The capabilities afforded by the recent advances in computer science now provide the opportunity to put into context the explosion of information on the brain, its circuitry, and its functions. Therefore,
the committee recommends that the Brain Mapping Initiative be established with the long-term objective of developing three-dimensional computerized maps and models of the structure, functions, connectivity, pharmacology, and molecular biology of human, rat, and monkey brains1across developmental stages and reflecting both normal and disease states.
The committee envisions this objective to be accomplished in two