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Particle tracking is of key importance for quantitative analysis of intracellular dynamic processes from time-lapse microscopy image data. Because manually detecting and following large numbers of individual particles is not feasible, automated computational methods have been developed for these tasks by many groups. Aiming to perform an objective comparison of methods, we gathered the community and organized an open competition in which participating teams applied their own methods independently to a commonly defined data set including diverse scenarios. Performance was assessed using commonly defined measures. Although no single method performed best across all scenarios, the results revealed clear differences between the various approaches, leading to notable practical conclusions for users and developers.


Full details on the challenge can be found in the following paper:

Objective comparison of particle tracking methods

Nicolas Chenouard, Ihor Smal, Fabrice de Chaumont, Martin Maška, Ivo F. Sbalzarini, Yuanhao Gong, Janick Cardinale, Craig Carthel, Stefano Coraluppi, Mark Winter, Andrew R. Cohen, William J. Godinez, Karl Rohr, Yannis Kalaidzidis, Liang Liang, James Duncan, Hongying Shen, Yingke Xu, Klas E. G. Magnusson, Joakim Jaldén, Helen M. Blau, Perrine Paul-Gilloteaux, Philippe Roudot, Charles Kervrann, François Waharte, Jean-Yves Tinevez, Spencer L. Shorte, Joost Willemse, Katherine Celler, Gilles P. van Wezel, Han-Wei Dan, Yuh-Show Tsai, Carlos Ortiz de Solórzano, Jean-Christophe Olivo-Marin, Erik Meijering.

Nature Methods, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 281-289, March 2014


  • Erik Meijering
    Erasmus MC – University Medical Center Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  • Jean-Christophe Olivo-Marin
    Institut Pasteur, Paris, France


  • Fabrice de Chaumont
    Institut Pasteur, Paris, France
  • Nicolas Chenouard
    Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland
  • Ihor Smal
    Erasmus MC - University Medical Center Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  • Martin Maška
    Center for Applied Medical Research, Pamplona, Spain

Important Dates

  • 1 December 2011
    Website open for registration
  • 1 February 2012
    Deadline for teams to register
  • 2 February 2012
    Training image data released
  • 15 March 2012
    Challenge image data released
  • 1 April 2012
    Deadline for submitting results
  • 2 May 2012
    ISBI 2012 Challenge Workshop
  • May-June 2012
    Paper writing