This is A PREVIEW for NEST 3.0 and NOT an OFFICIAL RELEASE! Some functionality may not be available and information may be incomplete!

step_rate_generator – Provide a piecewise constant input rate


The rate_generator provides a piecewise constant rate input to the connected rate unit(s). Please note that this input is handled in the same way as input from any other rate unit, i.e. it is processed by the input function of the receiving rate unit. The amplitude of the rate is changed at the specified times. The unit of the rate is Hz.

If allow_offgrid_times is false, times will be rounded to the nearest grid point if they are less than tic/2 from the grid point, otherwise NEST reports an error. If true, times are rounded to the nearest grid point if within tic/2 from the grid point, otherwise they are rounded up to the end of the grid point.


Times of amplitude changes must be strictly increasing after conversion to simulation time steps. The option allow_offgrid_times may be useful, e.g., if you are using randomized times for rate changes which typically would not fall onto simulation time steps.


The following parameters can be set in the status dictionary:


list of ms

Times at which current changes


list of pA

Amplitudes of step current current



Default false



See also

Device, Generator, Rate