# Getting started

Documentation This page contains the steps that you should follow right after you installed NEST. Another good starting point is the help page, which is available as command help in SLI and nest.help() in PyNEST

## Set up the integrated helpdesk

The command helpdesk needs to know which browser to launch in order to display the help pages. The browser is set as an option of helpdesk. Please see the file ~/.nestrc for an example setting firefox as browser. Please note that the command helpdesk does not work if you have compiled NEST with MPI support, but you have to enter the address of the helpdesk (file://$PREFIX/share/doc/nest() manually into the browser. Please replace $PREFIX with the prefix you chose during the configuration of NEST. If you did not explicitly specify one, it is most likely set to /usr or /usr/local depending on what system you are.

If you compiled NEST with support for distributed computing via MPI, you have to tell it how your mpirun/mpiexec command works by defining the function mpirun in your ~/.nestrc file. This file already contains an example implementation that should work with OpenMPI library.

## Creating Models with NEST

After NEST is installed and configured properly, you can start to build your model.

### Examples

A good starting point to learn more about modeling in NEST are the example networks that come together with NEST.

### Where does data get stored

By default, the data files produced by NEST are stored in the directory from where NEST is called. The location can be changed by changing the property data_path of the root node using nest.SetKernelStatus("data_path", "/path/to/data"). This property can also be set using the environment variable NEST_DATA_PATH. Please note that the directory /path/to/data has to exist. A common prefix for all data files can be set using the property data_prefix of the root node by calling nest.SetKernelStatus("data_prefix", "prefix") or setting the environment variable NEST_DATA_PREFIX.