Encyclopedia of Computational Neuroscience

2015 Edition
| Editors: Dieter Jaeger, Ranu Jung

NEST: the Neural Simulation Tool

  • Hans Ekkehard PlesserEmail author
  • Markus Diesmann
  • Marc-Oliver Gewaltig
  • Abigail Morrison
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6675-8_258



The neural simulation tool NEST is designed for large networks of simple spiking model neurons. NEST includes a wide range of neuron and synapse models and provides high-level commands to create spatially structured networks. NEST is controlled through a Python-based interface and supports parallel simulation. NEST is available from www.nest-initiative.org under a GNU Public License.

Detailed Description

NEST is optimized for networks of neurons whose subthreshold dynamics can be described by a small number of differential equations. By default, NEST simulations operate on a fixed time grid. However, NEST also supports precisely timed spikes (Hanuschkin et al. 2010), combining the precision of event-driven simulators (Henker et al. 2012) with the efficiency of grid-based simulation.

NEST supports hybrid parallelization with MPI processes and multithreading, permitting lightweight thread-only parallelization for small...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans Ekkehard Plesser
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Markus Diesmann
    • 3
    • 4
  • Marc-Oliver Gewaltig
    • 5
  • Abigail Morrison
    • 2
    • 6
    • 7
  1. 1.Department of Mathematical Sciences and TechnologyNorwegian University of Life SciencesÅsNorway
  2. 2.Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (INM-6), Computational and Systems NeuroscienceJülich Research CentreJülichGermany
  3. 3.Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (INM-6) and Institute for Advanced Simulation (IAS-6), Jülich Research Centre and JARAJülichGermany
  4. 4.Medical Faculty, RWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  5. 5.Blue Brain ProjectÉcole Polytechnique Fédéral de LausanneLausanneSwitzerland
  6. 6.Simulation Laboratory Neuroscience – Bernstein Facility for Simulation and Database Technology, Institute for Advanced Simulation, Jülich Aachen Research Alliance, Jülich Research CentreJülichGermany
  7. 7.Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, Faculty of Psychology, Ruhr-University BochumBochumGermany