Run simulations

This document describes how to run simulations using xolotl.

Changing the time step and duration

In the case where the simulation time step (sim_dt) and the output time step (dt) are identical, the dt property only needs to be set.

% set the simulation time to 10 seconds
x.t_end     = 10e3; % ms
% set the time-step to 1 microsecond
x.dt        = 1e-3; % ms

The sim_dt property determines the number of time-steps actually computed. The dt property determines the number of time-steps output. In the following example, the computer would perform 1 million (x.t_end/x.sim_dt) iterations but the output vector (or matrix) V is only 1000 x nComps where nComps is the number of compartments in the xolotl object tree.

% perform 1e6 iterations, interpolate at a ratio of 1/1000
x.t_end     = 1000; % 1000 milliseconds
x.sim_dt    = 1e-3; % 0.001 milliseconds
x.dt        = 1;    % 1 millisecond
V           = x.integrate;

Closed loop vs. open loop

The closed_loop flag (false or true) determines whether initial conditions should be reset before a new simulation. If closed_loop is true, successive simulations will use the current state of the xolotl object (e.g. the end state of the previous simulation if you run integrate twice in a row).

% use current state of model as initial conditions
x.closed_loop = true
V = x.integrate;

You can set the initial conditions by setting the desired properties.

% set the voltage to start at -50 mV in compartment 'comp'
x.comp.V = -50;

To quickly save the state of a network and return back to it later (such as for running multiple simulations) you can use the snapshot functionality.

The outputs of x.integrate

(1) Voltage or Injected current

When the x.V_clamp property is not set, the first output of x.integrate is the voltage trace in the form of a nSteps x nComps matrix where nSteps is the number of time steps and nComps is the number of compartments in the model. The number of time steps in the output is determined by the simulation time and the output time step x.t_end and x.dt.

(2) Calcium

The calcium trace is in the form of a nSteps x 2*nComps matrix where nSteps is the number of time steps and nComps is the number of compartments in the model. The first nComps columns are the intracellular calcium concentration (in M) for each compartment in the serialized xolotl object tree. The next set of nComps columns are the calcium reversal potential (in mV).

(3) Mechanism variables

Mechanisms such as integral controllers produce output traces. All mechanism traces are stored in an matrix where is the number of time steps (x.t_end / x.dt) and is the number of mechanisms producing traces. Mechanism traces are ordered exactly the same as in the xolotl object, meaning by compartment and then by conductance.

(4) Currents

Currents are stored in an matrix where is the number of time steps (x.t_end / x.dt) and is the number of conductances in the network. Currents are ordered exactly the same as in the xolotl object, meaning by compartment and then alphabetically.

(5) Synaptic currents

Synaptic gating variables and curents are stored in an matrix where is the number of time steps (x.t_end / x.dt) and is the number of synapses. Currents are ordered exactly the same as in the xolotl object, meaning by compartment and then alphabetically.

Plotting mechanisms and currents

The example script demo_stg contains code that plots currents vs. time and demo_integral_control contains code that plots mechanisms vs. time.

Inject current into compartments

Injected current is mediated by the I_ext property of the xolotl object.

If I_ext is a scalar, that amount of current in is injected into every compartment at all time.

% inject 0.2 nA into each compartment
x.I_ext = 0.2;

If I_ext is a vector the length of the number of compartments, constant current will be added to each compartment in order (based on the serialized xolotl object).

% add current to only the first compartment
x.I_ext = [0.2, 0];

If I_ext is a matrix, it should be of size nSteps x nComps where nSteps is the number of time steps and nComps is the number of compartments in the model. Current is added at each time step to each compartment in order (based on the serialized xolotl object).

% add a variable current into one of two compartments
nSteps      = x.t_end / x.dt;
I_ext       = zeros(nSteps, 2);
I_ext(:, 1) = 0.2 * rand(nSteps, 1);
x.I_ext     = I_ext;

Switching solvers

x.solver_order = 4; % uses Runge Kutta 4
x.solver_order = 0; % default, uses exponential Euler

See Also