Forgot Password

If you have forgotten your password you can enter your email here and get a temporary password sent to your email.


A Python package for simulator-independent specification of neuronal network models. In other words, you can write the code for a model once, using the PyNN API, and then run it without modification on any simulator that PyNN supports (currently NEURON, NEST and PCSIM). The API has two parts, a low-level, procedural API (functions create(), connect(), set(), record(), record_v()), and a high-level, object-oriented API (classes Population and Projection, which have methods like set(), record(), setWeights(), etc.). The low-level API is good for small networks, and perhaps gives more flexibility. The high-level API is good for hiding the details and the book-keeping, and is intended to have a one-to-one mapping with FacetsML. The other thing that is required to write a model once and run it on multiple simulators is standard cell models. PyNN translates standard cell-model names and parameter names into simulator-specific names, e.g. standard model IF_curr_alpha is iaf_neuron in NEST and StandardIF in NEURON, while SpikeSourcePoisson is a poisson_generator in NEST and a NetStim in NEURON. Only a small number off cell models have been implemented so far.

URL: http://neuralensemble.org/PyNN/

Resource ID: nif-0000-23351     Resource Type: Resource     Version: Latest Version


python, software



Additional Resource Types

software development tool


CeCILL license

Alternate URLs




Parent Organization

Original Submitter


Version Status


Submitted On

12:00am September 21, 2010

Originated From


Changes from Previous Version

First Version

Version 1

Created 5 years ago by Anonymous

PyNN: A Common Interface for Neuronal Network Simulators.

  • Davison AP
  • Front Neuroinform
  • 2008 5

Computational neuroscience has produced a diversity of software for simulations of networks of spiking neurons, with both negative and positive consequences. On the one hand, each simulator uses its own programming or configuration language, leading to considerable difficulty in porting models from one simulator to another. This impedes communication between investigators and makes it harder to reproduce and build on the work of others. On the other hand, simulation results can be cross-checked between different simulators, giving greater confidence in their correctness, and each simulator has different optimizations, so the most appropriate simulator can be chosen for a given modelling task. A common programming interface to multiple simulators would reduce or eliminate the problems of simulator diversity while retaining the benefits. PyNN is such an interface, making it possible to write a simulation script once, using the Python programming language, and run it without modification on any supported simulator (currently NEURON, NEST, PCSIM, Brian and the Heidelberg VLSI neuromorphic hardware). PyNN increases the productivity of neuronal network modelling by providing high-level abstraction, by promoting code sharing and reuse, and by providing a foundation for simulator-agnostic analysis, visualization and data-management tools. PyNN increases the reliability of modelling studies by making it much easier to check results on multiple simulators. PyNN is open-source software and is available from http://neuralensemble.org/PyNN.