Neurosim: Some Thoughts on Using Computer Simulation in Teaching Electrophysiology

Bill Heitler


Neurosim is an interactive simulation program designed for teaching electrophysiology.  It was first published in 1989, but has been updated several times over the years, and v5.3.3 was released in January 2022.

Much effort has been put into making Neurosim as easy to use as possible, while at the same time offering a wide range of facilities.  It contains 7 modules that simulate at biological levels ranging from single channel membrane properties, through spike and synaptic properties, small network properties, up to whole-population firing dynamics.  It is highly configurable and can be useful for teaching from the beginning undergraduate level dealing with basic neuron physiology, through to the post-graduate level suitable for use as an introduction to computational neuroscience.

The article describes how Neurosim has been useful in my own teaching over the years and gives several examples of student activities that have proved effective in aiding understanding.  There is a comprehensive set of tutorial exercises available on the support website.