News

New release: Brian 2.5

It took us a while, but we are very happy to finally announce a new release, Brian 2.5 🎉. This release comes with a large number of bug fixes, various small improvements to the C++ code generation process, new examples and improved documentation, as well as a more powerful “generator syntax” for synapse generation. In particular, it is now possible to generate a fixed number of synapses randomly – either for each pre-synaptic or for each post-synaptic cell. We have also updated our build and testing infrastructure, and now provide binary pip-installable packages for all platforms, including the fancy new Apple hardware. Please let us know if you run into any issues!

As always, Brian 2 can be installed with Anaconda from the conda-forge channel (packages are provided for Python 3.7–3.10), or with pip from the pypi repository. See the installation instructions for more details.

Thanks to everyone who contributed 🤝!

For all the details about this new release, please have a look at the release notes.

Live session on Brian development

Marcel Stimberg will talk about Brian’s development process in a live developer session on Thursday, Feb 11 2021, 17:00 UTC (check local time). For more information and the link to the Zoom session see the announcement.

This talk is part of a series of sessions organized by the newly formed Software Working Group under the umbrella of the INCF and OCNS.

Update: The video for the recorded sessions is now on Youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fy6Hs5uQ7aQ

New release: Brian 2.4

In these very particular times, we are nevertheless happy to announce a new release, Brian 2.4. This release fixes a large number of bugs and includes a number of small improvements. As announced with the previous release, Brian 2.4 is the first release that no longer supports Python 2. For a full list of changes, see the release notes. We recommend all users of Brian 2 to update.

As always, Brian 2 can be installed with Anaconda from the conda-forge channel (packages are provided for Python 3.6, 3.7, 3.8), or with pip from the pypi repository. See the installation instructions for more details.

In case of questions or issues, please join us in the Brian support forum at brian.discourse.group.

New Brian community forum

Ask questions, chat and learn with other Brian users, show off what you’ve done, suggest new features, … We will try out a brand new forum for support questions and general discussion, replacing our previous forums on Google Groups. The new forum builds on the Discourse platform which gives us exciting new features such as giving credit to users for answering questions.

Please join here 👉 brian.discourse.group.

Forum screenshot

Brian online tutorial

We will experiment with running a Brian tutorial online. The first tutorial of this kind will take place on Friday, August 7th 2020 from 2pm-6pm BST (UTC+1, see here for other timezones). Free (but mandatory) registration here. We will run the tutorial as a Zoom meeting – registering with the link will give you the URL (please don’t share so we can avoid zoombombing). We will record the meeting and if everything goes reasonably well, we will upload the videos later.

Update: The recorded video is now on Youtube:

https://youtu.be/cAF3UWTzX9A

If you participate, it would be really helpful if you could download and install Brian before the tutorial so that you can work along with it as we go. Instructions are:

  1. Download and install the Anaconda Python 3 distribution
  2. Open a command prompt and run the following lines:
  3. You can now verify this is working by starting a Jupyter notebook server with:
  4. Your browser should open with the Jupyter notebooks interface. Now create a new notebook and put the following code in an empty cell:
    from brian2 import *
  5. Run that cell by pressing Ctrl+Enter. If that works without any errors (you might see a warning) then you’re good to go.
  6. If that doesn’t work or you want to use a different system than Anaconda, take a look at our detailed installation instructions.

If you have trouble installing, don’t worry. You can use the Brian installation on Binder or Google Colab instead.

For Colab, just make the first cell as follows:

!pip install brian2
!pip install brian2tools

Looking forward to seeing you all on Friday!

GSoC 2020: work on Brian during the summer

The INCF is again applying to be a mentor organization in Google’s Summer of Code program, a “a global program focused on bringing more student developers into open source software development”. Changes are quite high that it will be selected, since its participation in the last years was very successful. If this is the case, there will be an opportunity to work on the Brian simulator, please see the list of proposed projects (Brian projects are number 8 and 9). Feel free to ask questions or discuss the project on the Neurostars forum (find all projects in the GSoC category). It is not mandatory to work on one of the proposed projects, though, please contact marcel.stimberg@inserm.fr if you have an idea of your own.

Brian2GeNN paper published: accelerate Brian simulations with GPUs

Our paper on brian2genn was published today. It automatically translates Brian models into a format that can be read by the GPU-enhanced neural network simulator (GeNN) to allow it to run on GPU. Some simulations were 400x faster on GPU compared to a single CPU.

Stimberg M, Goodman DFM, Nowotny T (2020)
Brian2GeNN: a system for accelerating a large variety of spiking neural networks with graphics hardware
Scientific Reports 10, 410. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-54957-7

New release: Brian 2.3

Happy New Year to all Brian users 🎉! We are happy to announce a new release, Brian 2.3. This release fixes a number of bugs and introduces some new features. It also paves the way for the transition from Python 2 to Python 3 – given that Python 2 is now no longer officially supported, Brian 2.3 will be the last release to support Python 2. For a full list of changes, see the release notes. We recommend all users of Brian 2 to update.

Brian 2 can be installed with Anaconda from the conda-forge channel (packages are provided for Python 2.7, 3.6, 3.7, 3.8), or with pip from the pypi repository.

As always, please report bugs or suggestions to the github bug tracker or to the brian-development mailing list (brian-development@googlegroups.com).

Paper on Brian 2 published in eLife

We are happy to report that our paper “Brian 2, an intuitive and efficient neural simulator” has been accepted for publication in eLife: https://elifesciences.org/articles/47314

In this paper, we describe a number of examples that showcase various features of Brian 2, ranging from non-standard neuronal/synaptic models to interacting with hardware in real time via C++ code. All the code to run these examples is openly available in a github repository.
The examples are provided as interactive jupyter notebooks, and can be tried out without a local installation of Brian by running them on the binder infrastructure.

Brian 2.2

We are happy to announce the release of Brian 2.2. This release includes a number of important fixes and performance improvements. It also makes sure that simulation no longer give platform-dependent results for certain corner cases that involve the division of integers. For a full list of changes, see the release notes. We recommend all users of Brian 2 to update.

Brian 2 can be installed with Anaconda from the conda-forge channel, or with pip from the pypi repository.

Detailed installation instructions: http://brian2.readthedocs.io/en/2.2/introduction/install.html

As always, please report bugs or suggestions to the github bug tracker (https://github.com/brian-team/brian2/issues) or to the brian-development mailing list (brian-development@googlegroups.com).