NEST is a simulator for spiking neural network models based on over 25 years of development that focuses on the dynamics and structure of neural systems, rather than the exact morphology of individual neurons. It is ideal for networks of any size including models of information processing (e.g. in the visual or auditory cortex of mammals), models of network activity dynamics (e.g. laminar cortical networks or balanced random networks) and models of learning and plasticity.
In addition to advanced neuroscientific research, NEST can also be used in education and teaching (NEST Desktop) and as a reference implementation to validate neuromorphic systems.
The NEST Facility Hub, operated by the Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Germany, represents an organizational point of contact that can be approached both from the NEST user and developer side, as well as from the infrastructure side. The Hub offers an up-to-date simulation engine on the level of neurons and synapses provided via Jupyter notebooks on EBRAINS with connection to High Performance Computing (HPC). Additionally, it supports users, developers and infrastructure operators in making workflows possible, sustainable and maintainable, acting as a central point bridging between these different views. Users and developers additionally will be provided with software packages for common distributions, as well as containerized solutions such as Docker containers and VM images.
The NEST support helps users of the simulation engine with the installation and handling of the tool and developers in enhancing the openly available community code. For this purpose, a mailing list, an EBRAINS ticketing system, a fortnightly open NEST developers video conference, a Github issue tracker for the coordination of activities, and code reviews have been set up. User and developer engagement are supported with documentation for users, developers, and for maintenance and operations.
About Human Brain Project Facility Hubs
The Human Brain Project Facility Hubs offer users from academia and industry around the world to use the state-of-the-art facilities and resources of HBP partner institutions, to foster collaboration and carry out cutting-edge scientific research. They are contributions from HBP partners to the new EBRAINS research infrastructure, and complement the EBRAINS services currently on offer.