Visual Columns Mapping Challenge

If you are good at programming / data analysis / algorithms and like challenges read on! FlyWire is issuing its first Data Challenge.

Data Challenge: A wiring diagram of a brain is modeled as a directed graph with weighted edges, where nodes represent neurons and edges represent synaptic connections (weight = # synapses). In this challenge you are given a sub-graph with ~24K nodes representing a partial wiring diagram of fly’s visual system (from one optic lobe only). Every node in this subgraph has one of 31 distinct “colors” (color represents type of a neuron).

Your mission is:

Group the nodes in this sub-graph into 796 “clusters” so that 1) no two nodes of same color are clustered together; 2) the sum of edge weights within the clusters is maximized.

Note that this challenge does not require any neuroscience / biology knowledge.

How is this related to understanding the brain? In a quick buzz, these clusters represent visual columns; neurons from the same column are responsible for processing one “pixel” of the fly’s visual field.

ou can read more about the challenge and download the data here:… (sign in and agreement to terms required). Improvements to the current best solution will likely be found soon, and we’re very excited to see significant leaps.

Winners of the challenge will be given a special recognition (plaque) from our labs at Princeton University, designed at least in part by real human Amy Sterling and will be invited to give a talk about their solution. The person who comes up with the best solution will be invited to deliver a talk about their solution at Princeton University (optional).

Questions? Email flywire at

Leaderboard and more information on Codex:

Deadline: April 30th

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