Topographica: Computational Modeling of Neural Maps

Christopher E. Ball, James A. Bednar

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Topographica is designed to make large-scale computational modeling of the development, structure, and function of topographic neural maps practical. Models can be built that focus on structural, functional, or integrative phenomena, either in the visual cortex or in other sensory or motor areas. The Topographica software package currently provides: Arbitrary feedforward, lateral, and feedback connectivity patterns, and adaptation/self-organization, using firing rate or simple spiking neuron models; Automatic generation of inputs for modelling development and for testing, allowing user control of the statistical environment, based on natural or computer-generated inputs; A graphical user interface for designing networks and experiments, with integrated visualization and analysis tools for understanding the results, as well as for validating models through comparison with experimental results. Rapid, interactive prototyping of multiple, large maps is possible on desktop workstations; automatic scaling to network arrangements and phenomena at larger scales, along with a batch mode for submitting jobs to clusters, allows simulation at greater levels of detail. Freely available from and written in Python, Topographica is easily extensible by users, and runs on Windows, Macintosh, and Linux. We invite neural map researchers in all fields to begin using Topographica, to help establish a community of researchers who can share code, models, and approaches. In this demo, we will show how models running in other simulators can be analyzed in a rich, consistent framework using Topographica. This research was supported in part by the US National Institute of Mental Health under Human Brain Project grant R01-MH66991, and by the UK EPSRC-funded Neuroinformatics Doctoral Training Centre at the University of Edinburgh.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Event2nd INCF Congress of Neuroinformatics - Pilsen, Czech Republic
Duration: 6 Sep 20098 Sep 2009


Conference2nd INCF Congress of Neuroinformatics
CountryCzech Republic

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