Indeed, this image is truly beautiful and remarkable. It is an image of the white matter fibers in the brain obtained with diffusion MRI (link). The image was obtained by the Human Connectome Project, which is a 5-year project funded by NIH to find the networks of the human brain. These networks will show how our brain communicates between different regions and give insight about the anatomical and functional organization of the brain. The project also has the goal to produce data that will help understanding brain diseases such as Alzheimer's disease. The data is available to the scientific community.
So how do you obtain these networks? By applying computer algorithms to data obtained with different neuroimaging techniques: MRI, fMRI, diffusion MRI among others. These computer algorithms come from the graph theory. The application of these algorithms is extremely useful, because the algorithms analyze the network, reduce the complexity, find similarities and differences between different networks.
A very nice science article for researchers not familiar with the topic:
To know more about obtaining diffusion MRI data or network methods, look into these two articles:
- Hasan, K., Walimuni, I., Abid, H., & Hahn, K. (2011). A review of diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging computational methods and software tools Computers in Biology and Medicine, 41 (12), 1062-1072 DOI: 10.1016/j.compbiomed.2010.10.008
- Kaiser, M. (2011). A tutorial in connectome analysis: Topological and spatial features of brain networks NeuroImage, 57 (3), 892-907 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.05.025