• Python based user interface (PyNEST)
  • Built-in simulation language interpreter (SLI)
  • Multi-threading to use multi-processor machines efficiently
  • MPI-parallelism to use computer clusters and super computers

Neuron models

  • Integrate and fire (IAF) neuron models with current based synapses (delta-, exponential- and alpha-function shaped)

  • Integrate and fire neuron models with conductance-based synapses

  • Adaptive-exponential integrate and fire neuron model (AdEx)
    (Brette & Gerstner, 2005) - the standard in the FACETS EU project ([1])

  • MAT2 neuron model (Kobayashi et al. 2009)

  • Hodgkin-Huxley type models with one compartment

  • Neuron models with few compartments

Synapse models

  • Static synapses
  • Spike-timing dependent plasticity (STDP)
  • Short-term plasticity (Tsodyks et al. 2000)
  • Neuromodulatory synapses using dopamine

Network models

NEST 2.x

NEST 3.0


  • Interface to the Multi Simulator Coordinator MUSIC
  • Backend for the simulator-independent modeling tool PyNN



  • After installation NEST can be verified by an automatic testsuite

  • The testsuite is automatically run after each modification of the NEST sources. You can watch the current status on our Continuous Integration system.

Supported platforms

  • Linux
  • Mac OS X
  • Virtual machines for use under Windows
  • IBM BlueGene

By support we mean that we regularly test and use NEST on recent versions of these systems and that NEST therefore should work on those systems. It should not be construed as any warranty that NEST will run on any particular system.