Fast and accurate spike sorting of high-channel count probes with KiloSort

Marius Pachitariu, Nick Steinmetz, Shabnam Kadir, Matteo Carandini, Kenneth Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

101 Citations (Scopus)
69 Downloads (Pure)


New silicon technology is enabling large-scale electrophysiological recordings in vivo from hundreds to thousands of channels. Interpreting these recordings requires scalable and accurate automated methods for spike sorting, which should minimize the time required for manual curation of the results. Here we introduce KiloSort, a new integrated spike sorting framework that uses template matching both during spike detection and during spike clustering. KiloSort models the electrical voltage as a sum of template waveforms triggered on the spike times, which allows overlapping spikes to be identified and resolved. Unlike previous algorithms that compress the data with PCA, KiloSort operates on the raw data which allows it to construct a more accurate model of the waveforms. Processing times are faster than in previous algorithms thanks to batch-based optimization on GPUs. We compare KiloSort to an established algorithm and show favorable performance, at much reduced processing times. A novel post-clustering merging step based on the continuity of the templates further reduced substantially the number of manual operations required on this data, for the neurons with near-zero error rates, paving the way for fully automated spike sorting of multichannel electrode recordings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4455-4463
Number of pages9
JournalAdvances in Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS)
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2016
EventNIPS 2016 - Centro Convencions Internacional, Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 5 Dec 201610 Dec 2016


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