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Installation intructions


  • python 2.7
  • scipy/numpy
  • nest (latest release, compiled with mpi)
  • mpi4py
  • pyNN
  • imagen
  • param
  • parameters
  • quantities
  • neo



git clone
cd mozaik
python install
Please see below:
  • the installation of the dependencies.
  • the installation on Ubuntu Linux
  • how to run the examples

Detailed instructions

Virtual env

We recommend to install mozaik using the virtualenv python environment manager ( , to prevent potential conflicts with standard versions of required libraries. Users can follow for example tutorial or just do the following steps:

  • Install virtualenv

  • Create (for example in your home directory) a directory where all virtual environments will be created home/virt_env

  • Create the virtual environment for mozaik:

    virtualenv virt_env/virt_env_mozaik/ --verbose --no-site-packages
  • Load the virtual environment for mozaik by:

    source virt_env/virt_env_mozaik/bin/activate

Your shell should look now something like:



Note that if the installation is done in your virtualenv environment, it doesn't require any root privilege. Unless specified otherwise all dependencies should be installed via pip.

  • scipy
  • numpy
  • mpi4py
  • matplotlib (1.1 and higher)
  • quantities
  • imagen
  • PyNN
  • Neo
  • parameters
  • param

For mozaik itself, you need to clone with the help of git:

git clone
python install

VIRTUALENV NOTE: You might already have some of the above packages if you've used the option --system-site-packages when creating the virtual environment for mozaik. You can list the packages you have e.g. with the help of yolk): If you've set up the virt_env with the option --system-site-packages and you're using scipy, numpy, matplotlib anyway you don't have to install those in your virt_env.


Following these instruction should give you a working copy of mozaik on a fresh installation of Ubuntu (at the time of the writing the version was 16.04)

First the list of ubuntu package dependencies:

sudo apt-get install python2.7 python-dev python-pip python-nose subversion git libopenmpi-dev g++ libjpeg8 libjpeg8-dev libfreetype6 libfreetype6-dev zlib1g-dev libpng++-dev libncurses5 libncurses5-dev libreadline-dev liblapack-dev libblas-dev gfortran libgsl0-dev openmpi-bin python-tk cmake

Virtual env

Then python virtualenv and virtualenvwrapper (an handy way to manage python virtual environments):

$ sudo pip install virtualenv
$ sudo pip install virtualenvwrapper

To setup virtualenvwrapper add the following lines at the top of ~/.bashrc

# virtualenvwrapper
export WORKON_HOME=~/virt_env
source /usr/local/bin/

For the first time, run .bashrc (the next times it will be loaded by your terminal):

$ source .bashrc

To create a new managed virtualenv you just need to:

$ mkvirtualenv --no-site-packages mozaik
$ workon mozaik


Now you can install in this protected environment all other dependencies:

pip install --upgrade distribute
pip install numpy scipy mpi4py matplotlib==2.1.1 quantities lazyarray interval Pillow param==1.5.1 parameters neo==0.5.2 cython pynn psutil

Now we will manually install several packages. It is probably the best if you create a separate directory in an appropriate place, where you will download and install from the packages.

First we will install imagen package:

git clone
cd imagen
python install

Now we can install Nest (always in the virtual environment):

  • download the latest version from their website


  • untar and cd into it:

    tar xvfz v2.18.0.tar.gz
    cd nest-simulator-2.18.0
  • then configure, choose if you want mpi:

    (mozaik)$ cmake -Dwith-mpi=OFF -Dwith-boost=ON -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX:PATH=$HOME/virt_env/mozaik -Dwith-optimize='-O3' ./
  • finally, by launching make and install, it installs PyNest in the activated virtual environment mozaik:

    (mozaik)$ make
    (mozaik)$ make install
  • Then:

    make installcheck
  • nest will reside in $HOME/virt_env/mozaik/lib/python2.7/site-packages. Check that the package is seen by python using::

    python -c 'import nest'

And, finally, Mozaik:

git clone
cd mozaik
python install

Running examples

Go to the examples directory in the mozaik cloned from github (see above) and launch the model VogelsAbbott2005:

cd examples
cd VogelsAbbott2005
python nest 2 param/defaults 'test'

This will launch the example with the nest simulator, on 2 nodes with each node using 2 threads, using the parameter param/defaults. Last, 'test' is the name of this run.

copyright:Copyright 2011-2013 by the mozaik team, see AUTHORS.
license:CECILL, see LICENSE for details.


High-level spiking model definition and workflow framework




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