Computational Models of Multisensory Processing
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Developed Tool

Neuronal Multisensory Processing Simulator (NMPS) is   an computational environment for designing networks of spiking neurons to evaluate the properties that underlie multisensory processing. The novelty of the NMPS is that it was designed expressly to perform simulations of multisensory convergence. It generates network models and evaluates the functional result of that convergence with the onboard analysis tools that measure spiking activity of the neurons.

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The NMPS consists of several software components such as Morphology and Electrophysiology managers for designing neuron models, the Network builder for network generation, the Simulation manager for network simulation, and the Neuron and Network analysis managers for analysis of the simulation results.
The Electrophysiology Manager provides flexible interfaces allowing the user to determine and save the parameter variables for later use. So, the user can define the neuron’s spiking properties by adjusting parameters such as maximum sodium conductance (gNa), maximum potassium conductance (gK) and leak ion conductance (gL). Likewise, the other two single neuron models, McGregor’s and Izhikevich’s, also use several parameters that characterize their spiking patterns.
The Morphology Manager is a tool for specifying the morphology of the neurons in the network. All neurons are composed of three compartments: a single point soma, a dendrite consisting of many dendritic synapses, and an axon with many axonal terminals. A synapse is defined as a connection between an axonal terminal (from extrinsic or intrinsic sources) and a dendritic synapse. The spatial position of each compartment of a neuron can be defined in terms of location and distribution.
The Network Builder creates networks and all subtasks related to them. First, a 3D network space is created (X x Y x Z) that sets its limits. Then, the user selects the neuron model from one of the three models. Before placing neurons in the so far empty network, the user may divide its 3D space depending on the desired application. The next step is to populate the network with neurons. To do so the user needs to specify the following parameters for each neuron: electrophysiology type, morphology type, number of neurons, number of dendritic synapses, and number of axonal terminals.
The Simulation Manager allows the user to determine synaptic transmission properties, choose one of the two plasticity rules for modifying synaptic strengths, determine the number of input regions, and perform its main task of simulation.
A simulation produces spiking information for each neuron as well as other parameters of the network. The first is analyzed by the Neuron Analysis Manager and the other by the Network Analysis Manager. The Neuron Analysis Manager classifies neurons by their responses to separate and combined input stimulation as multisensory (bimodal and subthreshold) or unisensory. The Network Analysis Manager retrieves features of its network such as modality information, parameters of Izhikevich neurons, connection information, etc.
For a detailed description of the NMPS, see our paper A Neuronal Multisensory Processing Simulator .