Integrating Brain Structure and Dynamics on Supercomputers

  • S. J. van Albada
  • S. Kunkel
  • A. Morrison
  • M. Diesmann
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8603)

Abstract

Large-scale simulations of neuronal networks provide a unique view onto brain dynamics, complementing experiments, small-scale simulations, and theory. They enable the investigation of integrative models to arrive at a multi-scale picture of brain dynamics relating macroscopic imaging measures to the microscopic dynamics. Recent years have seen rapid development of the necessary simulation technology. We give an overview of design features of the NEural Simulation Tool (NEST) that enable simulations of spiking point neurons to be scaled to hundreds of thousands of processors. The performance of supercomputing applications is traditionally assessed using scalability plots. We discuss reasons why such measures should be interpreted with care in the context of neural network simulations. The scalability of neural network simulations on available supercomputers is limited by memory constraints rather than computational speed. This calls for future generations of supercomputers that are more attuned to the requirements of memory-intensive neuroscientific applications.

Keywords

Computational neuroscience Neural networks Scalability Simulation technology 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. J. van Albada
    • 1
  • S. Kunkel
    • 2
  • A. Morrison
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • M. Diesmann
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (INM-6) and Institute for Advanced Simulation (IAS-6)Jülich Research Centre and JARAJülichGermany
  2. 2.Simulation Laboratory Neuroscience – Bernstein Facility for Simulation and Database Technology, Institute for Advanced SimulationJülich Research Centre and JARAJülichGermany
  3. 3.Faculty of Psychology, Institute of Cognitive NeuroscienceRuhr-University BochumBochumGermany
  4. 4.Medical FacultyRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany

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