KInNeSS: a modular framework for computational neuroscience

Neuroinformatics. Winter 2008;6(4):291-309. doi: 10.1007/s12021-008-9021-2. Epub 2008 Aug 10.


Making use of very detailed neurophysiological, anatomical, and behavioral data to build biologically-realistic computational models of animal behavior is often a difficult task. Until recently, many software packages have tried to resolve this mismatched granularity with different approaches. This paper presents KInNeSS, the KDE Integrated NeuroSimulation Software environment, as an alternative solution to bridge the gap between data and model behavior. This open source neural simulation software package provides an expandable framework incorporating features such as ease of use, scalability, an XML based schema, and multiple levels of granularity within a modern object oriented programming design. KInNeSS is best suited to simulate networks of hundreds to thousands of branched multi-compartmental neurons with biophysical properties such as membrane potential, voltage-gated and ligand-gated channels, the presence of gap junctions or ionic diffusion, neuromodulation channel gating, the mechanism for habituative or depressive synapses, axonal delays, and synaptic plasticity. KInNeSS outputs include compartment membrane voltage, spikes, local-field potentials, and current source densities, as well as visualization of the behavior of a simulated agent. An explanation of the modeling philosophy and plug-in development is also presented. Further development of KInNeSS is ongoing with the ultimate goal of creating a modular framework that will help researchers across different disciplines to effectively collaborate using a modern neural simulation platform.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System / physiology*
  • Computational Biology / methods*
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Interdisciplinary Communication
  • Ion Channels / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Neurophysiology / methods*
  • Neurosciences / methods*
  • Programming Languages
  • Software*
  • Synaptic Potentials / physiology


  • Ion Channels