NEST Desktop is a web-based application which provides a graphical user interface for NEST Simulator. With this easy-to-use tool, users can interactively construct neuronal networks and explore network dynamics.

  • Enables rapid construction, parameterisation and instrumentation of neuronal network models
  • Supports installation-free access to NEST Simulator via a client-server architecture
  • An accessible classroom tool
  • Rapidly explore neuroscience concepts without learning a simulator control language


Learn how to construct neuronal networks using NEST Desktop

Advanced users often choose NEST Simulator: a prominent tool for spiking neuronal networks to measure network dynamics. However, programming knowledge is required to write code for this tool. NEST Desktop bypasses this requirement, but still teaches users how to construct and explore neuronal networks. A textual script is generated from the constructed networks and sent to NEST Simulator; the network activity is then visualised in a graph or table. It is a useful teaching tool, since the network graphs and network activity visualisations can be exported to files that users can implement for their course protocol.

NEST Desktop is available as an online prototype (free EBRAINS account required) and for download as a Docker container.

Related publications

Spreizer S, Senk J, Rotter S, Diesmann M, Weyers B. (2021) Nest Desktop, an educational application for neuroscience. eNeuro. 2021;8(6):1–13.

Access all EBRAINS services