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NEST is a simulator for spiking neuronal networks. It is used mostly in computational neuroscience to model and study brain phenomenons on the level of single neurons and synapses, but can also be used for artificial learning and beyond.

NEST is a well tested and efficient tool that works on your laptop and also on the world's largest supercomputers. Using NESTML, creating your own neuron and synapse models is a breeze! Visit NESTML to find out more.

You can do really awesome things with NEST. For all the details click on the button below to visit our documentation!

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  • NEST is just for simple point-neurons? Wrong!

    This plot shows a simulation using a three-compartment neuron model. The neuron has individual compartments for the proximal and distal dendrite, as well as the soma. These compartments can be individually targeted by connections. Check out iaf_cond_alpha_mc for details.

  • Creating models for NEST is hard? Check out NESTML!

    NESTML is the NEST Modeling Language. It simplifies the syntax needed to describe neuron and synapse models. When you are done writing the model, NESTML will analyze your equations and generate the most efficient C++ code for you.


Neuron models

NEST comes loaded with numerous state-of-the art neuron models. Textbook standards like integrate-and-fire and Hodgkin-Huxley type models are available alongside high quality implementations of models published by the neuroscience community. NESTML provides a framework to create models without the use of C++.

Neuronal plasticity

NEST offers convenient and efficient commands to define and connect large networks, ranging from algorithmically determined connections to data-driven connectivity. Create connections between neurons with our numerous synapse models from STDP to gap junctions.

Virtual devices

NEST works like an physiological experiment but inside a computer. We have several different stimulating and recording devices you can use to perform your virtual experiment.

Optimized for HPC

NEST is fast and memory efficient. It makes best use of your multi-core computer and compute clusters with minimal user intervention. Whether you want to work on a small cluster or the largest supercomputers, NEST can scale to your needs.

Ready for science

To ensure you get the most out of NEST for your research needs, we stay up-to-date with the latest in research to develop a simulator for the neuroscience community. NEST developers are using continuous integration-based workflows in order to maintain high code quality standards for correct and reproducible simulations.

Community building

NEST has fostered a large community of experienced developers and amazing users, who actively contribute to the project. Our community extends to related projects, like the teaching tool NEST Desktop, neuromorphic computing, and neuroanalytical tools like Elephant.


Latest release: Some new publication on nest_technology Check out our extensive list of peer-reviewed publications.


Hackathon Workshops Conference:


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Spot a problem with NEST? Have a question you want to ask developers? Find out how to get in touch with us or contribute to NEST! Find all the ways to get in touch



NEST is grateful for the support from numerous organizations and individuals.