Product Information

SDE Brochure   March 27, 2012

SDE Brochure: Features for Neuroscience   March 27, 2012

SDE End User License Agreement   March 27, 2012

White Papers

White Paper: Aura Alert   March 27, 2012

Product updates and manual

SDE Manual   March 27, 2012


Full details of all the SDE functionality can be found in the SDE manual and help file, but as these are very lengthy and detailed documents, the following set of tutorials has been developed to assist new users in getting started with SDE.

As every user’s requirements and data formats are different, only you can decide how SDE can best assist with your work. However, before such decisions can be made effectively, you will require a general understanding of SDE and its capabilities. Therefore, this set of tutorials is designed to provide an ideal starting point to the new SDE user, by using the different data views and functionalities available to perform a series of commonly performed SDE tasks on real datasets. Once you have a good overview of the product, the manual and help files can give you more detailed information that you may need on the areas that are most relevant to you.

Each of the tasks outlined in the tutorials is based on a different sample dataset. The datasets used are taken from a variety of the different SDE application areas, varying from ECG and EEG readings to electrical signal processing. However, all are designed so that they can be understood and completed without specialist knowledge in the subject areas and the techniques that will be taught will be applicable to any SDE application. The sample datasets can be opened directly from this webpage using the SDE protocol or downloaded onto your local disk. As one of the data files for tutorial 3 is quite large, it may be beneficial to download this whilst completing the earlier tutorials.

The following tutorials are available and it is recommended that they are completed in order. Click on the "Open Tutorial" link to begin.

Visualising the Data

This tutorial introduces the SDE interface and teach you how to open and display data effectively using the different data views available within SDE. After selecting an appropriate view, zoom level and play speed, you will replay an experiment that measured the response of retinal tissue to the presence of blue light. The SDE display provides a flexible, interactive representation of the experimental results, clearly showing how the spiking activity changes across the cellular array as the experiment progresses.

Tutorial 1 PDF (194KB) Open tutorial (343KB) Open data in SDE Download data

Exploring, Segmenting and Displaying Data

Learn how to efficiently navigate and investigate several hours of high resolution, physiological data recorded during a patient’s sleep. By zooming out by a factor of up to 2000, any causes of disturbed sleep can be easily identified. You will be shown how to zoom in on these areas so that they can be investigated in more detail and how to create visual representations of these sections for use in presentations and reports. This tutorial will also explain how SDE can create new, smaller data files from selected segments of the currently opened data.

Tutorial2.pdf (382KB) Open tutorial
Tut2-Sleep_Data.csv (11 187KB) Open data in SDE Download data

Spike Detection

Define a spike/event by selecting an example template and specifying how similar in scale and shape potential spikes must be to this template, if they are to be considered a match. Use SDE to very rapidly locate any occurrences of the defined spike/event, replacing the analogue time series data with binary event data, indicating all the spike positions.

This tutorial will show you how to search for a broad range of spiking behaviour across multiple data channels and how to perform spike sorting, by independently selecting and classifying different spike shapes. Note that although this tutorial classifies the search procedure as spike detection, the techniques demonstrated can be similarly applied to other forms of event detection, such as the identification of ramps or steps.

Tutorial3.pdf (289KB) Open tutorial (66 956KB) Open data in SDE Download data
Tut7-Random_Spiking.csv (2 173KB) Open data in SDE Download data

Searching for Patterns

Introduces the user to the main search facility within SDE, explaining the types of search available and the scenarios in which they are useful. This tutorial will show you how to locate the normal heartbeats in an ECG recording containing considerable irregular behaviour, whilst discussing each of the search parameters and the effect they have on the search performed. You will then be shown how to assess the results and improve the search and, once you are happy with the search definition, how to use or store the results obtained.

The second stage of this tutorial explains how the pattern finder facility can be used to create a library of important patterns and locate these with the current data file.

Tutorial4.pdf (254KB) Open tutorial
Tut4-VE418_ECG.csv (1 332KB) Open data in SDE Download data

Controlling SDE Search

Explains how the control the SDE search, using the available parameters and search options, to help ensure that the search returns the patterns in which you are interested. This includes an example of when to use the Similarity and when to use the Distance search, as well as explaining how to set the matching threshold and amplitude controls appropriately.

Tutorial5.pdf (244KB) Open tutorial
Tut5-Search_Control.csv (37KB) Open data in SDE Download data

Dynamic Filtering

This tutorial will explain how you can apply a wide range of filters to your data and dynamically adjust the parameters, with instant visual feedback of the filter’s effect, to obtain the desired results. You will be shown how to improve your search results by smoothing the data prior to searching and, using the example of the construction of a full wave rectifier, how to chain multiple basic filters together to create new, more powerful filtering options.

Tutorial6.pdf (311KB) Open tutorial
Tut6-Noisy Wave.plx (311KB) Not available Not available
Tut6-Noisy Wave.csv (54KB) Open data in SDE Download data

Using the Task Planner to Search for Coincident Activity

Learn how to use the task planner, available as part of the SDE professional package, to create more powerful search tasks, which can identify multiple, different, coincident patterns, across multiple variables. You will be taken through the full process of defining a series of tasks, which identify occurrences of coincident spiking activity across multiple variables.

Firstly you will investigate the data and plan how to effectively define the tasks. In stage 2 you will create the tasks using the task planner interface and then, in the final stage, you will assess the performance of your task library and make any improvements required to obtain perfect search results. An example of a perfectly functioning task library is available for download. This can be loaded into SDE if you are in need of assistance.

In order to use the task planner, the features on which you will be searching need to be defined in your variable configuration file. Details of the configuration file can be found in chapter 7 of the User Manual, but for this tutorial a feature_def.cfg file is supplied below. If you have downloaded the SDE version from the website, this configuration file will already be in place. However, if you have a bespoke version, you may need to copy the feature_def.cfg file below to the following locations before starting the final tutorial.

If you have Windows XP, copy the feature_def.cfg file to the following location:

C:\Documents and Settings\YOUR USERNAME\Local Settings\Application Data\SDExplorer

If you have Windows Vista or 7, copy the feature_def.cfg file to this location:

C:\Users\YOUR USERNAME\AppData\Local\SDExplorer

Note that these locations are often classified as hidden directories.

Tutorial7.pdf (414KB) Open tutorial
Tut7-Random_Spiking.csv (2 173KB) Open data in SDE Download data
Coincident_Spiking.tsk (1KB) Download file
feature_def.cfg (1KB) Download file


Below is a list of common questions and answers. If you can't find what you're looking for, please contact us and we'll do our best to help.

SDE Trial, Purchase and Licensing

I want to claim VAT exemption as this is for medical research.

This is relevant for UK customers only. If you are using SDE for medical research, your organisation may have a ‘Medical Exemption Certficate’. We will need to see a copy of this prior to exempting you from VAT.

Am I entitled to receive new releases of the software?

On purchase of your SDE product, you are entitled to a 12 month maintenance contract which gives you product updates and new releases during this time. We will send you an invoice on the anniversary of your purchase and on payment, you continue to receive the right to new versions of the software for the next 12 months.

What is the EULA?

The EULA or End User Licence Agreement are the terms that you agree to prior to use of your SDE product. A copy of the EULA can be obtained under the Support/Resources tab of this website.

How can I purchase a version of SDE?

The Standard and Professional versions of SDE can be purchased directly from the website using either a card, through Paypal or using an invoice raised against your request to purchase. A copy of the software will be available for download once payment has been received by us. The SDE Premium version will be launched later in 2012. We are interested in a small group of clients helping us to field test a β pre-release version of SDE Premium; please contact us if you are interested in this option.

What can I do with the SDE demo version?

The SDE demonstrator is a full version of SDE AURAalert. It includes all the tools and features available with SDE professional plus the AURAalert anomaly detection software. We ask that you register with us before installing this software on your machine. You have a 30 day free trial starting from the time you first start up SDE.

Help and Support

I have a technical problem with my version of SDE

In the first instance, please take a look at our extensive manual which is available for download (link) or use the Help option in SDE. If you cannot resolve the problem then contact and we will respond by the next working day.

Can I upgrade from my current version of SDE?

Yes. On payment of the difference between the price of your version and the upgrade version, we will send you the upgraded software. You can make this upgrade choice on-line or contact us at or +44 1904 427855 to order the upgrade you require.

How do I get help or assistance in using SDE?

There is a manual available for download from this website (link) which gives clear directions on how to use the various features in SDE. You can also email our help desk at