Release notes

Brian 2.0beta

This is the first beta release for Brian 2.0 and the first version of Brian 2.0 we recommend for general use. From now on, we will try to keep changes that break existing code to a minimum. If you are a user new to Brian, we’d recommend to start with the Brian 2 beta instead of using the stable release of Brian 1.

This is however still a Beta release, please report bugs or suggestions to the github bug tracker ( or to the brian-development mailing list (

Major new features

  • New classes Morphology and SpatialNeuron for the simulation of Multicompartment models
  • A temporary “bridge” for brian.hears that allows to use its Brian 1 version from Brian 2 (Brian 1 Hears bridge)
  • Cython is now a new code generation target, therefore the performance benefits of compiled code are now also available to users running simulations under Python 3.x (where scipy.weave is not available)
  • Networks can now store their current state and return to it at a later time, e.g. for simulating multiple trials starting from a fixed network state (Continuing/repeating simulations)
  • C++ standalone mode: multiple processors are now supported via OpenMP (Multi-threading with OpenMP), although this code has not yet been well tested so may be inaccurate.
  • C++ standalone mode: after a run, state variables and monitored values can be loaded from disk transparently. Most scripts therefore only need two additional lines to use standalone mode instead of Brian’s default runtime mode (C++ standalone).

Syntax changes

  • The syntax and semantics of everything around simulation time steps, clocks, and multiple runs have been cleaned up, making reinit obsolete and also making it unnecessary for most users to explicitly generate Clock objects – instead, a dt keyword can be specified for objects such as NeuronGroup (Running a simulation)
  • The scalar flag for parameters/subexpressions has been renamed to shared
  • The “unit” for boolean variables has been renamed from bool to boolean
  • C++ standalone: several keywords of have been renamed
  • The preferences are now accessible via prefs instead of brian_prefs
  • The runner method has been renamed to custom_operation


Bug fixes

57 github issues have been closed since the alpha release, of which 26 had been labeled as bugs. We recommend all users of Brian 2 to upgrade.


Code and documentation contributions (ordered by the number of commits):

Testing, suggestions and bug reports (ordered alphabetically, apologies to everyone we forgot…):

  • Guillaume Bellec
  • Victor Benichoux
  • Laureline Logiaco
  • Konstantin Mergenthaler
  • Maurizio De Pitta
  • Jan-Hendrick Schleimer
  • Douglas Sterling
  • Katharina Wilmes