Enabling Factor Analysis on Thousand-Subject Neuroimaging Datasets

The scale of functional magnetic resonance image data is rapidly increasing as large multi-subject datasets are becoming widely available and high-resolution scanners are adopted. The inherent low-dimensionality of the information in this data has led neuroscientists to consider factor analysis methods to extract and analyze the underlying brain activity. In this work, we consider two recent multi-subject factor analysis methods: the Shared Response Model and Hierarchical Topographic Factor Analysis. We perform analytical, algorithmic, and code optimization to enable multi-node parallel implementations to scale. Single-node improvements result in 99x and 1812x speedups on these two methods, and enables the processing of larger datasets. Our distributed implementations show strong scaling of 3.3x and 5.5x respectively with 20 nodes on real datasets. We also demonstrate weak scaling on a synthetic dataset with 1024 subjects, on up to 1024 nodes and 32,768 cores...