Event Abstract

PyNEST: a convenient interface to the NEST simulator

  • 1 Honda Research Institute Europe GmbH, Germany
  • 2 BCCN Freiburg, Germany
  • 3 Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Switzerland

Previous versions of NEST were difficult to use because simulations had to be formulated in a custom programming language (SLI), which is based on PostScript. This lead to a high barrier for new users. The upcoming version 2.0 of NEST lowers this barrier significantly by providing a convenient and easy-to-learn interface to NEST as an extension module for the Python programming language. This extension is called PyNEST.

The neural simulation tool NEST (http://www.nest-initiative.org) is a simulator for heterogeneous networks of point neurons or neurons with a small number of compartments. It aims at simulations of large neural systems, i.e. networks with more than 10^4 neurons and up to 10^9 synapses.

NEST is implemented as an efficient library in C++ that can be used on a large range of architectures ranging from desktop computers to large clusters with thousands of processor cores.

Python (http://www.python.org) is a modern programming language that has recently gained considerable attention in Computational Neuroscience. Python is easy to learn and has many extension modules for scientific computing (http://www.scipy.org).

PyNEST is an extension module for Python that combines the power of the NEST simulation kernel with the flexibility of Python. PyNEST allows faster simulation setup, easier construction of stimuli, and convenient analysis of the results in the same script. In this contribution we describe the main features of PyNEST from a user perspective. In a companion contribution we give a live demonstration of PyNEST.

Conference: Neuroinformatics 2008, Stockholm, Sweden, 7 Sep - 9 Sep, 2008.

Presentation Type: Poster Presentation

Topic: Large Scale Modeling

Citation: Eppler JM, Gewaltig M, Helias M and Muller E (2008). PyNEST: a convenient interface to the NEST simulator. Front. Neuroinform. Conference Abstract: Neuroinformatics 2008. doi: 10.3389/conf.neuro.11.2008.01.083

Received: 25 Jul 2008; Published Online: 25 Jul 2008.

* Correspondence: Jochen M Eppler, Honda Research Institute Europe GmbH, Offenbach, Germany, j.eppler@fz-juelich.de

© 2007 - 2018 Frontiers Media S.A. All Rights Reserved