These installation instructions should work for most users who do not need custom configurations for their systems. If you want to compile NEST from source, check the Advanced installation section and CMake Options for NEST.
Ubuntu users can install NEST via the PPA repository.
Add the PPA repository for NEST and update apt:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nest-simulator/nest sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install nest
Debian users can install NEST via the Ubuntu PPA repository.
Create a new
aptrepository entry in
sudo apt install devscripts build-essential software-properties-common dpkg-dev sudo add-apt-repository --enable-source ppa:nest-simulator/nest
Disable the binary package in the repository file created under
/etc/apt/sources.list.d/by commenting out the
debline, while keeping the
deb-srcline. It should look similar to this:
#deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/nest-simulator/nest/ubuntu focal main deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/nest-simulator/nest/ubuntu focal main
Import the PPA GPC key and rebuild the package:
sudo apt-key adv --keyserver hkp://keyserver.ubuntu.com:80 \ --recv-keys 0CF7539642ABD23CBCA8D487F0B8B6C5EC02D7DD sudo apt update sudo apt source --build nest
Install any missing dependencies, if
apttells you so. In addition, install:
sudo apt install python3-all dh-python
After installing the dependencies, enter
sudo apt source --build nestagain. When the build finished, look for lines like
dpkg-deb: building package 'nest-dbgsym' in '../nest-dbgsym_2.20.0-0~202001311135~ubuntu20.04.1_amd64.deb'. dpkg-deb: building package 'nest' in '../nest_2.20.0-0~202001311135~ubuntu20.04.1_amd64.deb'. #dh binary dpkg-genbuildinfo --build=binary dpkg-genchanges --build=binary >../nest_2.20.0-0~202001311135~ubuntu20.04.1_amd64.changes
and note down the full package name. In the above example this would be nest_2.20.0-0~202001311135~ubuntu20.04.1_amd64.deb, where the number 202001311135 and potentially the Ubuntu version number may be different.
Install the ready Debian package after the rebuild:
sudo dpkg --install nest-simulator-x.y.z~NUMBER~ubuntu20.04.1_amd64.deb
The package name is taken from the result of the previous step. NUMBER and potentially the Ubuntu version might differ.
Test the package:
python3 import nest
The NeuroFedora team has generously provided the latest
versions of NEST on their platform. As that is available in the
standard Fedora platform repositories, it can simply be
sudo dnf install python3-nest
Find out more on the NeuroFedora site: https://neuro.fedoraproject.org.
Install NEST via:
brew install nest
The Conda package is only available for NEST 2.X. If you want to use NEST 3.X, please see other installation options.
To keep your conda setup tidy, we recommend that you install NEST into a separate conda environment together with Python packages that you will use when working with NEST; see also our Tips for installing NEST with conda.
To install the latest version of NEST in a new environment called
ENVNAME, just run
conda create --name ENVNAME -c conda-forge nest-simulator
To install additional packages into the environment, just list them together with
conda create --name ENVNAME -c conda-forge nest-simulator jupyterlab seaborn
To see all NEST versions available via conda, either run
conda search -c conda-forge nest-simulator
or browse the conda forge file list (note there are multiple pages). To install, e.g., NEST 2.18.0, run
conda create --name nest_2_18_0 -c conda-forge nest-simulator=2.18.0=*
The syntax for this install follows the pattern:
Activate your environment:
conda activate ENVNAME
Note the following:
We currently provide NEST with thread-based parallelization on Conda. This should suffice for most uses on personal computers.
Until dedicated conda builds for Apple’s M1 chip (arm64) become available, you should expect relatively poor performance on computers with the M1 chip. You need to build NEST yourself on M1 systems for good performance.
In addition to native installations from ready-made packages, we provide containerized versions of NEST in several formats:
Docker provides an isolated container to run applications. The NEST Docker container includes a complete install of NEST and is set up so you can create, modify, and run Juptyer Notebooks and save them on your host machine. (See the Note below for alternative ways to use the Docker container.)
If you do not have Docker installed, follow the Docker installation instructions for your system here: https://docs.docker.com/install/.
If you are using Linux, we strongly recommend you also create a Docker group to manage Docker as a non-root user. See instructions on the Docker website: https://docs.docker.com/install/linux/linux-postinstall/
Create a directory or change into a directory that you want to use for your Jupyter Notebooks.
mkdir my_nest_scripts cd my_nest_scripts
Run the Docker container. Replace the
<version>with one of the latest NEST versions (e.g.,
2.20.0) or use
latestfor the most recent build from the source code.
docker run --rm -e LOCAL_USER_ID=`id -u $USER` -v $(pwd):/opt/data -p 8080:8080 nestsim/nest:<version> notebook
Once completed, a link to a Jupyter Notebook will be generated, as shown below. You can then copy and paste the link into your browser.
You can now use the Jupyter Notebook as you normally would. Anything saved in the Notebook will be placed in the directory you started the Notebook from.
You can shutdown the Notebook in the terminal by typing Ctrl-c twice. Once the Notebook is shutdown the container running NEST is removed.
You can check for updates to the Docker build by typing:
docker pull nestsim/nest:<version>
You can also create an instance of a terminal within the container itself and, for example, run Python scripts.
docker run --rm -it -e LOCAL_USER_ID=`id -u $USER` -v $(pwd):/opt/data -p 8080:8080 nestsim/nest:<version> /bin/bash
See the README to find out more, but note some functionality, such as DISPLAY, will not be available.
Once NEST is installed, you can run it in Python, IPython, or Jupyter Notebook
For example, in the terminal type:
Once in Python you can type:
or as a stand alone application:
If installation was successful, you should see the NEST splash screen in the terminal:
Installation is now complete! :ref:`Now we can start creating simulations! <getting_started>`
If installation didn’t work, see the troubleshooting section.
If you need special configuration options or want to compile NEST yourself, follow these instructions.
Download the source code for the current release.
For further options on installing NEST on macOS, see Building NEST on macOS for Macs.
Instructions for high performance computers provides some instructions for certain machines.