SortingExtractor objects

The SortingExtractor is the basic class for handling spike sorted data. Here is how it works.

A SortingExtractor handles:

  • spike trains retrieval across segments

  • dumping to/loading from dict-json

  • saving (caching)

import numpy as np
import spikeinterface.extractors as se

We will create a SortingExtractor object from scratch using numpy and the NumpySorting

Let’s define the properties of the dataset:

sampling_frequency = 30000.
duration = 20.
num_timepoints = int(sampling_frequency * duration)
num_units = 4
num_spikes = 1000

We generate some random events for 2 segments:

times0 = np.int_(np.sort(np.random.uniform(0, num_timepoints, num_spikes)))
labels0 = np.random.randint(1, num_units + 1, size=num_spikes)

times1 = np.int_(np.sort(np.random.uniform(0, num_timepoints, num_spikes)))
labels1 = np.random.randint(1, num_units + 1, size=num_spikes)

And instantiate a NumpySorting object:

sorting = se.NumpySorting.from_times_labels([times0, times1], [labels0, labels1], sampling_frequency)


NumpySorting: 4 units - 2 segments - 30.0kHz

We can now print properties that the SortingExtractor retrieves from the underlying sorted dataset.

print('Unit ids = {}'.format(sorting.get_unit_ids()))
st = sorting.get_unit_spike_train(unit_id=1, segment_index=0)
print('Num. events for unit 1seg0 = {}'.format(len(st)))
st1 = sorting.get_unit_spike_train(unit_id=1, start_frame=0, end_frame=30000, segment_index=1)
print('Num. events for first second of unit 1 seg1 = {}'.format(len(st1)))


Unit ids = [1 2 3 4]
Num. events for unit 1seg0 = 246
Num. events for first second of unit 1 seg1 = 8

Some extractors also implement a write function. We can for example save our newly created sorting object to NPZ format (a simple format based on numpy used in spikeinterface):

file_path = 'my_sorting.npz'
se.NpzSortingExtractor.write_sorting(sorting, file_path)

We can now read it back with the proper extractor:

sorting2 = se.NpzSortingExtractor(file_path)


NpzSortingExtractor: 4 units - 2 segments - 30.0kHz
  file_path: /home/docs/checkouts/

Unit properties are key value pairs that we can store for any unit. We will now calculate unit firing rates and add them as properties to the SortingExtractor object:

firing_rates = []
for unit_id in sorting2.get_unit_ids():
    st = sorting2.get_unit_spike_train(unit_id=unit_id, segment_index=0)
    firing_rates.append(st.size / duration)
sorting2.set_property('firing_rate', firing_rates)



[12.3  12.3  13.05 12.35]

You can also get a a sorting with a subset of unit. Properties are propagated to the new object:

sorting3 = sorting2.select_units(unit_ids=[1, 4])


# which is equivalent to
from spikeinterface import UnitsSelectionSorting

sorting3 = UnitsSelectionSorting(sorting2, unit_ids=[1, 4])


UnitsSelectionSorting: 2 units - 2 segments - 30.0kHz
[12.3  12.35]
A sorting can be “dumped” (exported) to:
  • a dict

 * a json file
  • a pickle file

The “dump” operation is lazy, i.e., the spike trains are not exported. Only the information about how to reconstruct the sorting are dumped:

from spikeinterface import load_extractor
from pprint import pprint

d = sorting2.to_dict()

sorting2_loaded = load_extractor(d)


{'annotations': {},
 'class': 'spikeinterface.core.npzsortingextractor.NpzSortingExtractor',
 'dumpable': True,
 'kwargs': {'file_path': '/home/docs/checkouts/'},
 'module': 'spikeinterface',
 'properties': {},
 'relative_paths': False,
 'version': '0.92.1.dev0'}
NpzSortingExtractor: 4 units - 2 segments - 30.0kHz
  file_path: /home/docs/checkouts/

The dictionary can also be dumped directly to a JSON file on disk:


sorting2_loaded = load_extractor('my_sorting.json')


NpzSortingExtractor: 4 units - 2 segments - 30.0kHz
  file_path: /home/docs/checkouts/

IMPORTANT: the “dump” operation DOES NOT copy the spike trains to disk!

If you wish to also store the spike trains in a compact way you need to use the save() function:'./my_sorting')

import os


sorting2_cached = load_extractor('./my_sorting')


['properties', 'cached.json', 'sorting_cached.npz', 'provenance.json']
NpzSortingExtractor: 4 units - 2 segments - 30.0kHz
  file_path: /home/docs/checkouts/

Total running time of the script: ( 0 minutes 0.023 seconds)

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