Custom events

In most simulations, a NeuronGroup defines a threshold on its membrane potential that triggers a spike event. This event can be monitored by a SpikeMonitor, it is used in synaptic interactions, and in integrate-and-fire models it also leads to the execution of one or more reset statements.

Sometimes, it can be useful to define additional events, e.g. when an ion concentration in the cell crosses a certain threshold. This can be done with the events keyword in the NeuronGroup initializer:

group = NeuronGroup(N, '...', threshold='...', reset='...',
                    events={'custom_event': 'x > x_th'})

In this example, we define an event with the name custom_event that is triggered when the x variable crosses the threshold x_th. Such events can be recorded with an EventMonitor:

event_mon = EventMonitor(group, 'custom_event')

Such an EventMonitor can be used in the same way as a SpikeMonitor – in fact, creating the SpikeMonitor is basically identical to recording the spike event with an EventMonitor. An EventMonitor is not limited to record the event time/neuron index, it can also record other variables of the model:

event_mon = EventMonitor(group, 'custom_event', variables['var1', 'var2'])

If the event should trigger a series of statements (i.e. the equivalent of reset statements), this can be added by calling run_on_event:

group.run_on_event('custom_event', 'x=0')

When neurons are connected by Synapses, the pre and post pathways are triggered by spike events by default. It is possible to change this by providing an on_event keyword that either specifies which event to use for all pathways, or a specific event for each pathway (where non-specified pathways use the default spike event):

synapse_1 = Synapses(group, another_group, '...', on_pre='...', on_event='custom_event')
synapse_2 = Synapses(group, another_group, '...', on_pre='...', on_post='...',
                     on_event={'pre': 'custom_event'})


By default, custom events are checked after the spiking threshold (in the after_thresholds slots) and statements are executed after the reset (in the after_resets slots). The slot for the execution of custom event-triggered statements can be changed when it is added with the usual when and order keyword arguments (see Scheduling and custom progress reporting for details). To change the time when the condition is checked, use NeuronGroup.set_event_schedule().