Facilities & Equipment

Laboratory

The Institute of Cognitive Science (ICS), established over 35 years ago, provides exceptional space for both research and education. The administrative offices are housed on CU-Boulder’s main campus, while the research offices are located on the east campus, at the Center for Innovation and Creativity (CINC). ICS has 16,000 square feet of laboratory space at CINC, including single occupancy rooms, double occupancy rooms, equipment rooms, several meeting room spaces, student cubicles, and classrooms for lab meetings and for computer laboratory classes. The space at CINC provides rooms outfitted with high-speed Internet connections and power supply for all data analysis and image processing and a specifically designed machine room for high-end computer equipment. This laboratory environment assures that all requisite space and facilities are available for successful completion of the research projects.

In addition, the ICS faculty holds appointments in academic departments (Psychology & Neuroscience; Philosophy; Computer Science; Education; Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences; Architecture and Planning; and Linguistics), and therefore have access to the research and educational facilities of these departments, as well as the campus computing network, libraries, and all other available campus resources.

Computers

The laboratory supports Windows, Mac, and Linux/Unix operating systems. It provides desktop computers for researchers, and computer servers for developing and evaluating systems and for collecting data. The annotation lab contains 10 networked Intel-based PCs (2.4 GHz, Intel Pentium 4) and can also be used for teaching, training, and research. CLEAR also has a computing cluster of over 10 machines connected to a 4 terabyte disk over a 1Gigbyte switch. The laboratory computers and the cluster are connected to an Intel dual-processor (2.67 GHz Xeon w/ 8 total CPU cores) server with 48 GB RAM running Linux/Unix operating system.

A major strength of CU-Boulder is its emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration in both research and education. ICS offers a joint PhD program in cognitive science and a multidisciplinary MS certificate program in cognitive science and human language technologies.

Neuroimaging Center

The Intermountain Neuroimaging Consortium (INC) is a partnership between the University of Colorado Boulder and the Mind Research Network (MRN) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The INC brings together internationally recognized neuroscientists from the Rocky Mountain region who study complex psychological processes such as addiction, pain, emotion, attention, sleep, and learning and memory, as well as physicists and engineers who study and develop innovative Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) methods and analysis techniques. This unique research environment promotes collaboration and knowledge sharing among area scientists, and offers an unprecedented opportunity for other scientists in the region to enhance their existing research by making use of the INC’s shared expertise and cutting edge neuroimaging resources.

The centerpiece of the INC is a Siemens Tim Trio 3 Tesla system equipped with 12- and 32-channel head coils for MRI. INC researchers use a variety of MRI methods to study the brain, including: functional MRI (fMRI) to measure brain activity related to various behaviors; diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to understand the connectivity and architecture within the brain; and structural imaging to determine the locations and sizes of brain structures. INC researchers investigate brain activity and structure in healthy and clinical populations across all ages, from young children to older adults.

Partnerships
Mind Research Network

The INC's sister site at the MRN is a 33,000 square foot research facility affiliated with the University of New Mexico, which houses an additional 3T Siemens Tim Trio 3 Tesla MRI system. The reciprocal arrangements between CU and MRN provide a unique platform for sharing scanner sequences, quality-control procedures, and neuroinformatics resources. Automated data analysis services and quality control procedures are integrated and standardized across sites. Services improve the efficiency of PIs at both sites by implementing standard scan protocols and quality assurance checks, and providing an automated pipeline for fMRI, structural, and diffusion imaging data analysis.

Equipment
Computational Infrastructure

Data storage, transfer, and analysis is supported by a 102-core computing cluster with 32 TB of RAID storage as well as the university’s Janus SuperComputer, located adjacent to CINC, which currently has over 800TB of storage and 16,000+ processing cores. These facilities allow for the fast and efficient analysis of data.

MRI scanner

INC houses a 3.0 Tesla Siemens TIM Trio fMRI scanner, located at the Center for Innovation and Creativity (CINC) on the CU-Boulder campus. This system is dedicated for research use only and is equipped with:

  1. 12-channel and 32-channel head coils with parallel imaging capability.
  2. Pulse sequences for EPI-BOLD, arterial spin labeling, diffusion-weighted imaging (DTI/DSI/DWI), rapid multi-slice imaging, spectroscopy, and others.
  3. In-scanner physiological monitoring equipment (Biopac, Inc.) and eye tracking (SMI, Inc.).
  4. fMRI compatible equipment for delivering thermal pain (Pathways integrated thermal stimulator, Medoc, Inc.) and taste (4-tube fMRI compatible taste pump).
  5. Integration with the Mind Research Network’s neuroinformatics structure for secure and accessible storage and archiving of neuroimaging data . Data are automatically archived, registered in the neuroinformatics system, and transferred to a 200-node high-performance computing cluster for user access.
  6. Integration with the Mind Research Network’s automated analyses pipeline for structural data (using FreeSurfer) and functional data (using SPM8), which is available alongside user-customized preprocessing.
  7. Access to the Janus supercomputer, one of the world’s fastest supercomputers, which is located immediately adjacent to INC. 1 TB RAM nodes are available from CU’s Research Computing division for advanced analyses.
  8. Multiple fMRI-compatible display and participant-response interface devices, including a high-quality rear projection system, headphones, dual (bimanual) five-button response boxes, and trackball for recording continuous behavioral responses.
  9. A full-time MR tech responsible for performing all scanning protocols. That individual, along with the MR physicist, runs daily quality control protocols.