This version of the documentation is NOT an official release. You are reading the documentation version which is in active and ongoing development.

Lecturer guide

This section gives directions for lecturers who want to teach computational neuroscience with NEST Desktop. Using computer simulations, students are able to explore models ranging from single neurons to large neuronal networks. Numerical experiments of increasing complexity help to understand how brain networks function and what the features of their dynamic behavior are.


This section assumes that you have prior knowledge of how to use NEST Desktop. If you have not used NEST Desktop before, please read the User Documentation first ( User guide).

Course organisation

To support the organization of a course, we provide some hints for course instructors:

Additionally, we provide course materials to be handed out to participants:

Course topics

This guide shows how you can teach the biophysics of neurons, synapses and large networks of the brain to students using NEST Desktop. Video tutorials illustrate important aspects of the course work. The provided material could be used to prepare handouts for students.

Bachelor students

This section provides sample assignments for students with little prior knowledge. The focus lies on the activity dynamics of single neurons. In all assignments we use iaf_psc_alpha as our neuron model. It is studied how a neuron responds to different types of input.

Master students

This section covers advanced topics for students with previous knowledge in neurobiology. Here, we cover the activity dynamics of single neurons and of neuronal networks.

Doctoral students

This section illustrates how NEST Desktop might be used for research in computational neuroscience. A typical example covers the activity dynamics of neuronal networks with multiple interacting populations.