Auryn simulator

Simulator for spiking neural networks with synaptic plasticity

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Auryn spiking neural network simulator

Auryn is a simulator for spiking neural networks with plastic synapses. It is free and open source software optimized to simulate spiking neural networks with plasticity. Some examples are Vogels et al., Science, 2011; Zenke et al., Nature Communications, 2015; and more.

When to use Auryn

As a spiking neural network simulator Auryn is complementary to other simulators such as NEST and Brian. Instead of focusing on large-scale simulations or ease of model development, Auryn's main focus lies on simulation speed to efficiently simulate small or medium sized network models with plasticity over extended periods of simulated time (hours to days). To that end, Auryn is optimized to run efficiently on shared memory machines and small clusters. Auryn is written in C++ and uses MPI for parallel execution. Moreover, it supports Intel's Xeon Phi architecture.

Guiding principles

  • Modularity. A network model is defined as a collection of objects (e.g. a group of neurons) and the interactions between them (e.g. sparse synaptic connectivity). Additionally, the user defines devices such as monitors to read out activity in the network simulation. The Auryn kernel keeps track of all the simulation objects and runs the simulation (also transparently on a cluster if desired).
  • Performance. Each network object is kept short and simple and optimized for the task at hand. Data is stored in customized vector classes and when possible Auryn uses SIMD (vector instructions at the processor level, e.g. SSE or AVX) to speed up operations on them.
  • Easily extensible. New modules are easy to add (as new neuron or synapse types), and existing modules provide good examples as to how.

This wiki aims at providing examples and documentation for Auryn users and developers. To get started take a look at quick start and check out the Examples pages. Here you will also find most of the simulation code of published work. The best place for questions is the support forum.

To cite Auryn: Zenke, F. and Gerstner, W., 2014. Limits to high-speed simulations of spiking neural networks using general-purpose computers. Front Neuroinform 8, 76. doi: 10.3389/fninf.2014.00076

Copyright and License Auryn is written and maintained by Friedemann Zenke (2014-2016). Auryn is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version. — Auryn is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details. — You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with Auryn. If not, see <>.

The Auryn logo Copyright 2013 Koshika Yadava. The term Auryn refers to an artifact in “The Never-ending Story”, a novel by Michael Ende.

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Funding During Auryn's development Friedemann received support of the European Community's Seventh Framework Program under grant agreement no. 237955 (FACETS-ITN), 269921 (BrainScales) and the European Research Council under grant agreement no. 268689 (MultiRules). Moreover, Friedemann was supported by the SNSF (Swiss National Science Foundation).

start.txt · Last modified: 2017/04/24 20:14 by zenke