NEST Simulator

NEST: A simulator for spiking neural network models of any size

NEST Simulator

Widely used in computational neuroscience, neurorobotics and machine learning

Allows simulations through PyNEST, PyNN and NEST Desktop graphical user interface

NESTML modeling language enables domain experts to extend NEST without programming experience

EBRAINS HLST and vibrant NEST developer community provide support and inspiration

Scales to future exascale computers thanks to NEST parallel simulation technology advances


Explore network dynamics with NEST Desktop

NEST Desktop for NEST

NEST Desktop is a web-based, installation-free application providing a graphical user interface for NEST. It has proven to be a very useful teaching tool, since students can rapidly construct and manipulate networks and explore their dynamics interactively. NEST Desktop is available as a prototype online (free HBP account required) and for download as a Docker container.


View reusable models implemented in NEST

Microcircuit model

Originally described by Potjans and Diesmann in 2014, the microcircuit model is a data-driven full-scale spiking network model of 1 mm2 of visual cortex which relates structure and activity. The model comprises four cortical layers, each containing an excitatory and an inhibitory population, with some 77.000 neurons in total. A reference implementation of the model in PyNEST has been widely cited and even been re-used in a considerable number of peer-reviewed papers since its original publication.

Multi-area model

The multi-area model is a large-scale spiking model of the vision-related areas of the macaque cortex with over 4 million neurons published by HBP scientists in 2018. This model requires large compute servers for simulation and an advanced workflow to generate model structure from empirical data.

A reference implementation of model and workflow using NEST, based on a thorough model implementation review, is available. You can also watch a video describing the first steps in working with the multi-scale spiking network model of the macaque visual cortex.


Learn about the philosophy behind NEST

NEST explained

One of the long-term core developers of NEST, discusses the approach to neuronal network simulation and scientific tool development that has driven NEST development throughout its 25-year history.


Get involved in the NEST community

NEST community

Since its first release in 1994, NEST has gathered a large and experienced developer community.

The community ensures systematic code review based on continuous integration to maintain high code quality standards. Beyond daily collaboration via Github and fortnightly Open Developer Video Conferences, the NEST Community meets and exchanges success stories and ideas at in-person hackathons and the annual NEST Conference.

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