Using Brian2 for Simulating Digital Spiking Neural Models

(Applicable for Ubuntu 14.04.2 x64, Oct. 2015 )

This tutorial describes how to use facilities provided by brian2 to simulate purely digital TrueNorth spiking neural model from IBM. The model that we are going to use is presented in the paper from IBM.

1. Get the stuff up-and-running

Step 0 is to have pip python installer on your machine. Download the get-pip.py script and run it:

If you encounter a warning like:

Then it is time to upgrade to the latest version of requests package:

Proceed with installing brian2 python package using pip:

where  2.0b4  is a current release version (12 Oct. 2015).

As an IDE I use Liclipse with python support working out of the box.

Brian2 team provides tutorials in a form of interactive ipython notebooks.

In order to run these notebooks, one needs to have ipython v.4.0.0 (or greater) installed. Upgrade the currently installed ipython version with the upgrade flag ( -U):

By default the executable ipython script will be installed to /usr/local/bin. In my I needed to change the owner from the root to myself.

IPython v4.0.0 requires tornado >= 4.0, as my next error message suggested. Check version of the package with pip:

Update it to the latest version:

Conflicting installations of tornado might not allow to run ipython notebooks and throw exceptions. If that is the case, validate tornado status & purge it:

It is now possible to open tutorials (launch ipython notebook  in the folder with notebook files) and learn about brian2 from its creators/maintainers.

2. Implementing TrueNorth Spiking Neural Model using Brian2