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The Topographica cortical map simulator


The goal of the Topographica project is to make large-scale computational modeling of cortical maps practical. The project consists of a set of software tools for computational modeling of the structure, development, and function of cortical maps, such as those in the visual cortex. These tools are designed to support: (i) rapid prototyping of multiple, large cortical maps, with specific afferent, lateral, and feedback connectivity patterns, and adaptation and competitive self-organisation, with the use of firing-rate and spiking neuron models; (ii) automatic generation of inputs for self-organisation and testing, allowing user control of the statistical environment, based on natural or computer-generated inputs; (iii) a graphical user interface for designing networks and experiments, with integrated visualisation and analysis tools for understanding the results, as well as for validating models through comparison with experimental results. The simulator is user programmable, generalises to different network arrangements and phenomena at different scales, is interoperable with general-purpose analysis and visualisation tools and low-level neuron simulators, and runs on widely available computing hardware. With Topographica, models can be built that focus on structural, functional, or integrative phenomena, either in the visual cortex or in other sensory cortices. The first full release of Topographica is scheduled for late 2005, and it will be freely available over the internet at We invite cortical map researchers in all fields to begin using Topographica, to help establish a community of researchers who can share code, models, and approaches.


  title={{Modeling cortical maps with Topographica}},
  author={Bednar, J.A. and Choe, Y. and Paula, J.D. and Miikkulainen, R. and Provost, J. and Tversky, T.},