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Brain Imaging Analysis Kit

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Brain Imaging Analysis Kit Join the chat at

The Brain Imaging Analysis Kit is a package of Python modules useful for neuroscience, primarily focused on functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) analysis.

The package was originally created by a collaboration between Intel and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute (PNI).

To reduce verbosity, we may refer to the Brain Imaging Analysis Kit using the BrainIAK abbreviation. Whenever lowercase spelling is used (e.g., Python package name), we use brainiak.


We support Linux and MacOS with Python version 3.4 or higher. Most of the dependencies will be installed automatically. However, a few need to be installed manually.


Install the following packages (Ubuntu 14.04 is used in these instructions):

apt install build-essential libgomp1 libmpich-dev mpich python3-dev \

Install updated version of the following Python packages:

pip3 install --user -U pip virtualenv

Note the --user flag, which instructs Pip to not overwrite system files. You must add $HOME/.local/bin to your $PATH to be able to run the updated Pip, e.g., by adding the following line to $HOME/.profile and launching a new login shell (e.g., logout or execute bash -l):



Install the Xcode Command Line Tools:

xcode-select --install

Install brew from If you already have brew, examine the output of the following command to make sure it is working:

brew doctor

Then install the following:

brew install llvm cmake mpich python3

You must instruct programs to use this clang version at /usr/local/opt/llvm/bin. One way to do this, which works for most programs, is setting the CC environment variable. You can add the following lines to $HOME/.profile (or $HOME/.bash_profile, if you have one). For them to take effect, you must logout or launch a new login shell, e.g., bash -l:

export CC=/usr/local/opt/llvm/bin/clang
export CXX=/usr/local/opt/llvm/bin/clang++

In addition, you also need to specify the directories that the newly installed clang will seek for compiling and linking:

export LDFLAGS="-L/usr/local/opt/llvm/lib $LDFLAGS"
export CPPFLAGS="-I/usr/local/opt/llvm/include $CPPFLAGS"

Install updated versions of the following Python packages:

pip3 install -U pip virtualenv


The Brain Imaging Analysis Kit is available on PyPI:

pip3 install -U brainiak

Note that you may see a Failed building wheel for brainiak message (issue #61). Installation will proceed despite this failure. You can safely ignore it as long as you see Successfully installed at the end.


The documentation is available at


We welcome contributions. Please read the guide in CONTRIBUTING.rst.

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