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A Pythonic, object-oriented, monkey patch for NEURON

Project description

Build Status codecov Code style: black Documentation Status

*No ducks were punched during the construction of this monkey patch.


pip install nrn-patch

Inline replacement of NEURON by Patch

Be aware that the interface is currently incomplete, this means that most parts are still "just" NEURON. I've only patched holes I frequently encounter myself when using the h.Section, h.NetStim and h.NetCon functions. Feel free to open an issue or fork this project and open a pull request for missing or broken parts of the interface.


Python interfaces should be Pythonic, this wrapper offers just that:

  • Full Python objects: each wonky C-like NEURON object is wrapped in a full fledged Python object, easily handled and extended through inheritance.
  • Duck typed interface: take a look at the magic methods I use and any object you create with those methods present will work just fine with Patch.
  • Correct garbage collection, objects connected to eachother don't dissapear: Objects that rely on eachother store a reference to eachother. As is the basis for any sane object oriented interface.

Basic usage

Use it like you would use NEURON. The wrapper doesn't make any changes to the interface, it just patches up some of the more frequent and ridiculous gotchas.

Patch supplies a new HOC interpreter p, the PythonHocInterpreter which wraps the standard HOC interpreter h provided by NEURON. Any objects returned will either be PythonHocObject's wrapping their corresponding NEURON object, or whatever NEURON returns.

When using just Patch the difference between NEURON and Patch objects is handled transparently, but if you wish to mix interpreters you can transform all Patch objects back to NEURON objects with obj.__neuron__().

from patch import p
import glia as g

section = p.Section()
point_process = g.insert(section, "AMPA")
stim = p.NetStim()
stim.start = 10
stim.number = 5
stim.interval = 10

# And here comes the magic! This explicitly defined connection
# isn't immediatly garbage collected! What a crazy world we live in.
# Has science gone too far?
p.NetCon(stim, point_process)

# It's fully compatible using __neuron__
from neuron import h
nrn_section = h.Section()

Magic methods


Get the object's NEURON pointer

Whenever an object with this method present is sent to the NEURON HOC interpreter, the result of this method is passed instead. This allows Python methods to encapsulate NEURON pointers transparently


Get the object's NetCon pointer

Whenever an object with this method present is used in a NetCon call, the result of this method is passed instead. The connection is stored on the original object. This allows to simplify the calls to NetCon, or to add more elegant default behavior, like inserting the connection on a random segment of a section and being able to use just p.NetCon(section, synapse)

Known unpatched holes

  • When inserting point processes the returned object is unwrapped. This can be resolved using Glia, or by using this syntax:
  # In neuron
  process = h.MyMechanismName(my_section(0.5), *args, **kwargs)
  # In patch
  point_process = p.PointProcess(p.MyMechanismName, my_section(0.5), *args, **kwargs)

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