The field of neuroimaging has recently witnessed a strong shift towards data sharing; however, current collaborative research projects may be unable to leverage institutional architectures that collect and store data in local, centralized data centers. Additionally, though research groups are willing to grant access for collaborations, they often wish to maintain control of their data locally. These concerns may stem from research culture as well as privacy and accountability concerns. In order to leverage the potential of these aggregated larger data sets, we require tools that perform joint analyses without transmitting the data. Ideally, these tools would have similar performance and ease of use as their current centralized counterparts. In this paper, we propose and evaluate a new Algorithm, decentralized joint independent component analysis (djICA), which meets these technical requirements. djICA shares only intermediate statistics about the data, plausibly retaining privacy of the raw information to local sites, thus making it amenable to further privacy protections, for example via differential privacy. We validate our method on real functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data and show that it enables collaborative large-scale temporal ICA of fMRI, a rich vein of analysis as of yet largely unexplored, and which can benefit from the larger-N studies enabled by a decentralized approach. We show that djICA is robust to different distributions of data over sites, and that the temporal components estimated with djICA show activations similar to the temporal functional modes analyzed in previous work, thus solidifying djICA as a new, decentralized method oriented toward the frontiers of temporal independent component analysis.
Keywords: Collaborative analysis; Decentralization; Independent component analysis; Temporal independent component analysis; fMRI.
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