Nonlinear System Simulation Software

The sections have discussed a wide variety of specialized programs developed to model the dynamics of neurons and BNNs. Historically, the desktop computers at the beginning of the 1990s that were powerful and fast enough to support the simulation of large, complex BNNs were the systems running UNIX and its variations. Thus, it was only logical that most of the neural modeling programs developed in the early 1990s were written to run on computers with UNIX-type operating systems (OSs) with Xwindows, rather than less powerful DOS machines.

Today (02/00), personal computers are priced so that many graduate and undergraduate students have their own, powerful Pentium PCs. A typical PC now has a Pentium III processor running at 600 MHz, 64 to 128 MB RAM, a huge (> 6 GB) hard drive, a CD drive, modem, etc. and costs less than $2000 with monitor. Such computers usually run the Windows 95, 98, 2000 or NT4 OS, although some users use Linux. Some of the academic custodians of the neural modeling software packages described above have seen the handwriting on the wall and now offer, or are in the process of developing, Windows/DOS versions of their simulation programs. This trend is encouraging.

The student or researcher with a PC who wishes to obtain an introduction to neural modeling, and who wants to avoid the large investment in time and effort to master one of the large simulation programs described above, does have an alternative, i.e., the use of a general, nonlinear system simulation language such as Sim-non™ or the Matlab Simulink™, both of which run on PCs. The author has done the examples in this text using Simnon. Simnon and Simulink are described below.

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