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Front Neuroinform. 2010 Oct 5;4:113. doi: 10.3389/fninf.2010.00113. eCollection 2010.

A general and efficient method for incorporating precise spike times in globally time-driven simulations.

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Functional Neural Circuits Group, Faculty of Biology, Albert-Ludwig University of Freiburg Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany.


Traditionally, event-driven simulations have been limited to the very restricted class of neuronal models for which the timing of future spikes can be expressed in closed form. Recently, the class of models that is amenable to event-driven simulation has been extended by the development of techniques to accurately calculate firing times for some integrate-and-fire neuron models that do not enable the prediction of future spikes in closed form. The motivation of this development is the general perception that time-driven simulations are imprecise. Here, we demonstrate that a globally time-driven scheme can calculate firing times that cannot be discriminated from those calculated by an event-driven implementation of the same model; moreover, the time-driven scheme incurs lower computational costs. The key insight is that time-driven methods are based on identifying a threshold crossing in the recent past, which can be implemented by a much simpler algorithm than the techniques for predicting future threshold crossings that are necessary for event-driven approaches. As run time is dominated by the cost of the operations performed at each incoming spike, which includes spike prediction in the case of event-driven simulation and retrospective detection in the case of time-driven simulation, the simple time-driven algorithm outperforms the event-driven approaches. Additionally, our method is generally applicable to all commonly used integrate-and-fire neuronal models; we show that a non-linear model employing a standard adaptive solver can reproduce a reference spike train with a high degree of precision.


accuracy; event driven; non-linear neuron models; precise spike times; time driven

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