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Simulation of Biological Neural Networks (SS 2011)

Simulation of Biological Neural Networks (SS 2011)

Teacher: Prof. Dr. Abigail Morrison




The practical course "Scientific Programming - an Introduction to Python" is an excellent preparation for this course, however no prior knowledge of programming languages or computers is necessary. It is helpful to have covered this material before starting a Diploma or Master's project with a theoretical focus.


This course covers the fundamentals of simulating networks of single-compartment spiking neuron models. We start from the concept of a point neuron and then introduce more complex topics such as phenomenological models of synaptic plasticity, connectivity patterns and network dynamics. Along the way we examine a variety of modeling studies from the field of theoretical neuroscience and reproduce some key results. At the end of the course a student will have the ability to develop his or her own biological neural network models and to re-create models from neuroscientific literature.

The format of the course consists of a lecture in the morning followed by hands-on activity to put the concepts learned in the lecture into practice. For the practical activities we use the simulator NEST (www.nest-initiative.org). The course ends with a colloquium; there will be no written protocols after the course.

The course material (handouts, exercises) and lectures will be in English.


Target date

Preparatory meeting:
Friday, May 6, 15:00 (sharp)
Lecture Hall, Hansastr. 9a

The course itself takes place in a 2-week block during the semester break (will be announce during the preparatory meeting


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