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Computational Intelligence and Neuroscience
Volume 2016, Article ID 3676582, 10 pages
Research Article

Optimizing NEURON Simulation Environment Using Remote Memory Access with Recursive Doubling on Distributed Memory Systems

Computer Engineering Department, Kadir Has University, 34083 Istanbul, Turkey

Received 14 April 2016; Revised 12 May 2016; Accepted 25 May 2016

Academic Editor: Justin Dauwels

Copyright © 2016 Danish Shehzad and Zeki Bozkuş. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Increase in complexity of neuronal network models escalated the efforts to make NEURON simulation environment efficient. The computational neuroscientists divided the equations into subnets amongst multiple processors for achieving better hardware performance. On parallel machines for neuronal networks, interprocessor spikes exchange consumes large section of overall simulation time. In NEURON for communication between processors Message Passing Interface (MPI) is used. MPI_Allgather collective is exercised for spikes exchange after each interval across distributed memory systems. The increase in number of processors though results in achieving concurrency and better performance but it inversely affects MPI_Allgather which increases communication time between processors. This necessitates improving communication methodology to decrease the spikes exchange time over distributed memory systems. This work has improved MPI_Allgather method using Remote Memory Access (RMA) by moving two-sided communication to one-sided communication, and use of recursive doubling mechanism facilitates achieving efficient communication between the processors in precise steps. This approach enhanced communication concurrency and has improved overall runtime making NEURON more efficient for simulation of large neuronal network models.