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Sunday, July 19 • 7:00pm - 8:00pm
P48: Large-scale spiking network models of primate cortex as research platforms

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Google Meet link: meet.google.com/jip-hcfp-fhb

Sacha van Albada, Aitor Morales-Gregorio, Alexander van Meegen, Jari Pronold, Agnes Korcsak-Gorzo, Hannah Vollenbröker, Rembrandt Bakker, Stine Brekke Vennemo, Håkon Mørk, Jasper Albers, Hans Ekkehard Plesser, Markus Diesmann
Despite the wide variety of available models of the cerebral cortex, a unified understanding of cortical structure, dynamics, and function at different scales is still missing. Key to progress in this endeavor will be to bring together the different accounts into unified models. We aim to provide a stepping stone in this direction by developing large-scale spiking neuronal network models of primate cortex that reproduce a combination of microscopic and macroscopic findings on cortical structure and dynamics. A first model describes resting-state activity in all vision-related areas in one hemisphere of macaque cortex [1, 2], representing each of the 32 areas with a 1 mm² microcircuit [3] with the full density of neurons and synapses. Comprising about 4 million leaky integrate-and-fire neurons and 24 billion synapses, it is simulated on the Jülich supercomputers. The model has recently been ported to NEST 3, greatly reducing the construction time. The inter-area connectivity is based on axonal tracing [4] and predictive connectomics [5]. Findings reproduced include the spectrum and rate distribution of V1 spiking activity [6], feedback propagation of activity across the visual hierarchy [7], and a pattern of functional connectivity between areas as measured with fMRI [8]. The model is available open-source on and uses the tool Snakemake [9] for formalizing the workflow from the experimental data to simulation, analysis, and visualization. It serves as a platform for further developments, including an extension with motor areas [10] for studying visuo-motor interactions, incorporating function using a learning-to-learn framework [11], and creating an analogous model of human cortex [12]. It is our hope that this work will contribute to an increasingly unified understanding of cortical structure, dynamics, and function.


EU Grants 269921 (BrainScaleS), 604102 (HBP SGA1), 785907 (HBP SGA2), HBP SGA ICEI 800858; VSR computation time grant JINB33; DFG SPP 2041.

1. Schmidt M, Bakker R et al. Brain Struct Func 2017, 223, 1409–1435
2. Schmidt M, Bakker R et al. PLOS CB 2018, 14, e1006359
3. Potjans TC, Diesmann M. Cereb Cortex 2014, 24, 785 –806
4. Bakker R, Wachtler T et al. Front Neuroinform 2012, 6, 30
5. Hilgetag CC, Beul SF et al. Netw Neurosci 2019, 3, 905–923
6. Chu CCJ, Chien PF et al. Vision Res 2014, 96, 113–132
7. Nir Y, Staba RJ et al. Neuron 2011, 70, 153–169
8. Babapoor-Farrokhran S, Hutchison RM et al. J Neurophysiol 2013, 109, 2560–2570
9. Köster J, Rahmann S. Bioinformatics 2012, 28, 2520–2522
10. Morales-Gregorio A, Dabrowska P et al. Bernstein Conf 2019
11. Korcsak-Gorzo A, van Meegen A et al. Bernstein Conf 2019
12. Pronold J, van Meegen A et al. NEST Conf 2019

avatar for Sacha van Albada

Sacha van Albada

Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (INM-6, INM-10) and Institute for Advanced Simulation (IAS-6), Jülich Research Centre

Sunday July 19, 2020 7:00pm - 8:00pm CEST
Slot 15