Getting started

We present our easy, six step programme for learning how to model spiking neural networks with Brian.

1. Learn computational neuroscience

If you’re not already familiar with computational neuroscience, we would recommend you get started with some of these freely available online resources:

2. Try Brian in the browser

Before you start, you can try a demo of Brian in the browser without installing anything. Note that this page uses the service, and may take a few moments to load.

3. Download and learn Python

If you haven’t used Python before, we recommend using the Anaconda Python distribution.

And some options for learning Python:

  • Python for Beginners is a general introduction to installing and learning Python.
  • Scipy Lecture Notes is an introduction oriented towards Python for science. It’s a bit more technical than the general introduction, but probably more relevant and includes a discussion of useful tools and environments.

4. Download and install Brian

If you’ve installed the Anaconda distribution above, installing Brian is as simple as:

 conda install -c conda-forge brian2

On other Python distributions, you can try:

 pip install brian2

See our detailed installation documentation for more information.

Finally, check out various ways of running Brian scripts, including interactive noteboks, integrated development environments and command line.

5. Follow the tutorials

Our tutorials are designed for learning the basics of Brian. The easiest way to use them is to click the button and run them interactively in the browser.

You can also find a number of introductory videos in our YouTube channel.

6. Next steps

Once you understand the basics, here are a few ideas for how to get to grips with more advanced features of Brian:

  • Look at some of the examples for ideas of features you can use.
  • Read through some of our articles on Brian.
  • Have a look at some published code (here and here). Note that some of these examples are for older versions of Brian.
  • Read the user’s guide. Every feature of Brian is covered, but it might be a bit overwhelming to try to read from beginning to end.
  • Once you’ve mastered all that, try reading the advanced guide.