[Comp-neuro] Announcing the first NESTML community workshop

Jochen Martin Eppler j.eppler at fz-juelich.de
Wed Sep 23 16:25:51 CEST 2015

Announcing the first community workshop on NESTML, the novel modelling
language to create neuron models for the NEST simulator for spiking
neuronal networks (nest-simulator.org).

Currently, neuron and synapse models in NEST are written as C++ classes.
These classes implement the simulator API for updating the neuronal
dynamics, sending and receiving events, and auxiliary tasks such as
initialization, recording of internal variables, calibration and
handling of parameters.

As the model code is hand-written and often created by copy and paste,
this method is prone to errors and hinders the programmatic re-use of
components such as neuronal dynamics, post-synaptic responses and
synaptic plasticity mechanisms.

Moreover, as many neuroscientists are not experts in C++, the process of
creating models is often seen as complicated and in many cases the
resulting model implementations are not optimal with respect to
performance, consistency and testability.

To ease writing models for NEST and improve the general quality of the
code, we have created the NEST Modelling Language. NESTML comprises a
language specification to describe neuron models in terms of
neuroscience concepts and a set of tools to generate efficient C++ code
for NEST from this description.

During the workshop, we will give a general introduction to model
creation for NEST and an in-depth introduction to the concepts and
application of NESTML. In hands-on sessions the participants have the
opportunity to write their own models in NESTML with the assistance of
experienced tutors. The feedback collected in a dedicated session will
be used to shape the future design and development of NESTML.

Target Audience
The workshop aims at students and researchers in computational
neuroscience who want to create their own neuron models in NEST. Some
understanding of programming and experience with one of the simulators
NEST, NEURON, or Brian will be helpful, but are not strictly required.

Location and date
The workshop will take place at the Chair of Software Engineering
(se-rwth.de) of RWTH Aachen University from Monday, December 7 to
Wednesday, December 9, 2015.
Details and registration

Workshop attendance is possible free of charge. However, in order to be
able to plan rooms, lunches and coffee breaks, we require registration.
For details and enrolment, visit www.fz-juelich.de/ias/jsc/nestml-ws.

With best regards,

Dr. Jochen Martin Eppler
Phone: +49 2461 61-9471
Simulation Laboratory Neuroscience
Jülich Supercomputing Centre
Institute for Advanced Simulation

Forschungszentrum Juelich GmbH
52425 Juelich
Sitz der Gesellschaft: Juelich
Eingetragen im Handelsregister des Amtsgerichts Dueren Nr. HR B 3498
Vorsitzender des Aufsichtsrats: MinDir Dr. Karl Eugen Huthmacher
Geschaeftsfuehrung: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Wolfgang Marquardt (Vorsitzender),
Karsten Beneke (stellv. Vorsitzender), Prof. Dr.-Ing. Harald Bolt,
Prof. Dr. Sebastian M. Schmidt

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