Past, present and future of spike sorting techniques

Brain Res Bull. 2015 Oct;119(Pt B):106-17. doi: 10.1016/j.brainresbull.2015.04.007. Epub 2015 Apr 27.


Spike sorting is a crucial step to extract information from extracellular recordings. With new recording opportunities provided by the development of new electrodes that allow monitoring hundreds of neurons simultaneously, the scenario for the new generation of algorithms is both exciting and challenging. However, this will require a new approach to the problem and the development of a common reference framework to quickly assess the performance of new algorithms. In this work, we review the basic concepts of spike sorting, including the requirements for different applications, together with the problems faced by presently available algorithms. We conclude by proposing a roadmap stressing the crucial points to be addressed to support the neuroscientific research of the near future.

Keywords: Extracellular recordings; Modeling; Multielectrode recordings; On-chip applications; Spike sorting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Computer Simulation
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neuroimaging / instrumentation
  • Neuroimaging / methods*
  • Neurons / physiology*