School of Computing Research Colloquia

The Open Source Brain Initiative, enabling collaborative model development in computational neuroscience

Padraig Gleeson, Department of Neuroscience, Physiology & Pharmacology, University College London

Abstract: Computational modelling is important for understanding how brain function and dysfunction emerge from lower level neurophysiological mechanisms. However, computational neuroscience has been hampered by poor accessibility, transparency, validation and reuse of models. The Open Source Brain (OSB) initiative ( has been created to address these issues. This aims to create a repository of neuronal and network models from multiple brain regions and species that will be in accessible, standardised formats and work across multiple simulators. OSB will create a collaborative space to facilitate model creation and sharing, where both computational and experimental researchers can contribute to their development.

A related initiative which has also been using this open development model successfully is OpenWorm, which aims to build a computer model of the worm C. elegans incorporating unprecedented levels of biological and physical detail. These initiatives freely share software and knowledge to the benefit of both, and enjoy active contribution from a growing community of developers and scientists which would be impossible in more traditional closed scientific projects.