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maturity and availability. Surface reconstruction and visualization software (CARET) is now available for Silicon Graphics workstations ( Digital copies of the Visible Man atlas are available for viewing and analyzing any data of interest, and the atlas is also accessible via an interactive web site (

A major impediment to surface-based analyses has been the difficulty in automatically generating accurate surface reconstructions, particularly from high resolution volume representations available using structural MRI. Software for key aspects of this process recently has become available (, and additional software is under development in several laboratories. There also has been progress in making robust flattening algorithms available (

These methods all can be expected to undergo continued refinement that will include qualitative enhancements as well as improvements in speed and robustness. For example, our current surface-based warping algorithm operates only on cortical flat maps. A future objective is to warp ellipsoidal maps rather than flat maps, which will circumvent the limitations imposed by the artificial cuts present on flat maps. Once the warping is done on ellipsoids, it will still be easy to view the results on flat maps that include standard cuts.

The approaches discussed here represent important components of the emerging field of computational neuroanatomy (38, 39). These and related developments will help usher in a new era of high resolution brain mapping, which in turn will greatly improve our understanding of the organization and function of the cerebral cortex in a variety of species, most notably in humans.

We thank Dr. C.H.Anderson for valuable suggestions. This project was supported by National Institutes of Health Grant EY02091 (D.C.V.E), National Science Foundation Grant BIR9424264 (M.I.M.), and joint funding from the National Institute of Mental Health, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and National Institute on Drug Abuse under the Human Brain Project MHIDA52158.

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