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Usage Guide with Insite

This is a guide to show how to use NEST Desktop with Insite.

Insite is a recording backend module which is also integrated in NEST Simulator. Basically, with Insite neuronal or network activity can be observed during the simulation.


Simulation with Insite needs to be run with Insite docker images nest-module and access-node. The best method is to use Docker Compose, which also deploys NEST Desktop and Insite. For more information, please read the deployment guide of Insite.

Check if Insite is running


In the settings page you can check whether the Insite backend is running.

Enable simulation with Insite


After successfully receiving a ping from the Insite Access node of the backend, you can check the item Simulate with Insite in the context menu of the Simulate button (opens by clicking with the right mouse button).

Script code for simulation with Insite

The Insite module has to be loaded in the NEST kernel. Preferentially load the Insite module directly after importing NEST. Second, the parameter record_to of any recording device (e.g. spike recorder, multimeter or voltmeter) has to been modified:

import nest

recorder.set({"record_to": "insite"})

Now, the Insite recording module collects activity events from the modified recording devices. The client receives activity from the Insite Access Node on another port (default: 8080).

For more information about Insite, please visit the official documentation of Insite from the VR Group at RWTH Aachen.


Thanks for integrating Insite in NEST Simulator and NEST Desktop:

  • Simon Oehrl (Conceptual design for Insitufication in NEST Desktop)

  • Marcel Krüger (Collaboration of Insitufication in NEST Desktop)