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A web-based GUI application for NEST Simulator

Project description

NEST Desktop
NEST Desktop

A web-based application for spiking neuronal simulation.

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NEST Desktop is a web-based application which provides a graphical user interface for NEST Simulator. With this easy-to-use tool, users can interactively construct neuronal networks and explore network dynamics.

Advanced users often choose NEST Simulator: a prominent tool for spiking neuronal networks to measure network dynamics. However, programming knowledge is required to write code for this tool. NEST Desktop bypasses this requirement, but still teaches users how to construct and explore neuronal networks. A textual script is generated from the constructed networks and sent to NEST Simulator; the network activity is then visualized in a graph or table. It is a useful teaching tool, since the network graphs and network activity visualizations can be exported to files that users can implement for their course protocol.

NEST Desktop is available on EBRAINS (free EBRAINS account required).

Quick start

To get started with NEST Desktop and NEST Simulator, use Docker compose with the configuration file:

docker-compose up --build

For more information, please see the User Documentation Page.

Cite NEST Desktop

In order to cite NEST Desktop in general, please use the DOI 10.5281/zenodo.5037050 for all versions (always redirecting to the latest version). If you like to refer to a single version, you can find these also on Zenodo, e.g. 10.5281/zenodo.5037051 for Version 3.0. You can use the reference to the paper for NEST Desktop (DOI: 10.1523/ENEURO.0274-21.2021) mentioned above as well, if that is more appropriate in the context of your reference.

You will also find the exports for the citation managers on Zenodo and eNeuro.


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation under Specific Grant Agreement No. 785907 (Human Brain Project SGA2) and No. 945539 (Human Brain Project SGA3). This project was funded by the Helmholtz Association Initiative and Networking Fund under project number SO-092 (Advanced Computing Architectures, ACA). This work was supported by the DFG Excellence Cluster BrainLinks-BrainTools (grant EXC 1086).


NEST Desktop is published under the MIT license.

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