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NEST is a widely-used, publically available simulation software for spiking neural network models, scaling up to the full size of petascale computers.

NEST (www.nest-simulator.org) is a widely-used, publically available simulation software for spiking neural network models, scaling up to the full size of petascale computers. NEST focuses on the dynamics, size and structure of neural systems rather than on the exact morphology of individual neurons. The internal dynamic of model neurons in NEST is simple, described by a small number of linear ordinary differential equations, and neurons communicate via discrete events (spikes).

There is growing scientific demand to use NEST also to model networks of neurons with more complex internal dynamic, e.g., being highly non-linear. This will require much greater computing power. Another challenging aspect is the very large amount of data generated by large-scale network simulations. Today, this data is usually written to file and analysed later offline, but this approach is often inefficient.