The recipe class documentation is below.

A recipe describes neuron models in a cell-oriented manner and supplies methods to provide cell information. Details on why Arbor uses recipes and general best practices can be found in Recipes.


class arbor.recipe

Describe a model by describing the cells and network, without any information about how the model is to be represented or executed.

All recipes derive from this abstract base class.

Recipes provide a cell-centric interface for describing a model. This means that model properties, such as connections, are queried using the global identifier gid of a cell. In the description below, the term gid is used as shorthand for the cell with global identifier.

Required Constructor

The constructor must be implemented and call the base class constructor, as at the moment there is no way to instruct Python to do that automatically.


Arbor’s Python binding is that: a thin wrappper around the Arbor library which is written in C++. Calling the base class constructor ensures correct initialization of memory in the underlying C++ class.

A minimal constructor therefore looks like this:

def __init__(self):

Required Member Functions

The following member functions (besides a constructor) must be implemented by every recipe:


The number of cells in the model.


The cell kind of the cell with global identifier gid (return type: arbor.cell_kind).


A high level description of the cell with global identifier gid, for example the morphology, synapses and ion channels required to build a multi-compartment neuron. The type used to describe a cell depends on the kind of the cell. The interface for querying the kind and description of a cell are separate to allow the cell type to be provided without building a full cell description, which can be very expensive.

Optional Member Functions


Returns a list of all the incoming connections to gid. Each connection should have a valid synapse label connection.dest on the post-synaptic target gid, and a valid source label connection.source.label on the pre-synaptic source connection.source.gid. See connection.

By default returns an empty list.


Returns a list of all the gap junctions connected to gid. Each gap junction gj should have a valid gap junction site label gj.local on gid, and a valid gap junction site label gj.peer.label on gj.peer.gid. See gap_junction_connection.

By default returns an empty list.


A list of all the event_generator s that are attached to gid.

By default returns an empty list.


Returns a list specifying the probesets describing probes on the cell gid. Each element in the list is an opaque object of type probe produced by cell kind-specific probeset functions. Each probeset in the list has a corresponding probeset id of type cell_member: an id (gid, i) refers to the probes described by the ith entry in the list returned by get_probes(gid).

By default returns an empty list.


The global properties of a model.

This method needs to be implemented for arbor.cell_kind.cable, where the properties include ion concentrations and reversal potentials; initial membrane voltage; temperature; axial resistivity; membrane capacitance; cv_policy; and a pointer to the mechanism catalogue. Also see Built-in Catalogues.

By default returns an empty object.


See Cells.


See Interconnectivity.

Event generator and schedules

class arbor.event_generator
event_generator(target, weight, schedule)

Construct an event generator for a target synapse with weight of the events to deliver based on a schedule (i.e., arbor.regular_schedule, arbor.explicit_schedule, arbor.poisson_schedule).


The target synapse of type arbor.cell_local_label.


The weight delivered to the target synapse. It is up to the target mechanism to interpret this quantity. For Arbor-supplied point processes, such as the expsyn synapse, a weight of 1 corresponds to an increase in conductivity in the target mechanism of 1 μS (micro-Siemens).

class arbor.regular_schedule

Describes a regular schedule with multiples of dt within the interval [tstart, tstop).

regular_schedule(tstart, dt, tstop)

Construct a regular schedule as list of times from tstart to tstop in dt time steps.

By default returns a schedule with tstart = tstop = None and dt = 0 ms.


The delivery time of the first event in the sequence [ms]. Must be non-negative or None.


The interval between time points [ms]. Must be non-negative.


No events delivered after this time [ms]. Must be non-negative or None.

events(t0, t1)

Returns a view of monotonically increasing time values in the half-open interval [t0, t1).

class arbor.explicit_schedule

Describes an explicit schedule at a predetermined (sorted) sequence of times.


Construct an explicit schedule.

By default returns a schedule with an empty list of times.


The list of non-negative times [ms].

events(t0, t1)

Returns a view of monotonically increasing time values in the half-open interval [t0, t1).

class arbor.poisson_schedule

Describes a schedule according to a Poisson process.

poisson_schedule(tstart, freq, seed)

Construct a Poisson schedule.

By default returns a schedule with events starting from tstart = 0 ms, with an expected frequency freq = 10 kHz and seed = 0.


The delivery time of the first event in the sequence [ms].


The expected frequency [kHz].


The seed for the random number generator.

events(t0, t1)

Returns a view of monotonically increasing time values in the half-open interval [t0, t1).


No events delivered after this time [ms].

An example of an event generator reads as follows:

import arbor

# define a Poisson schedule with start time 1 ms, expected frequency of 5 Hz,
# and the target cell's gid as seed
def event_generators(gid):
    target = arbor.cell_local_label("syn", arbor.selection_policy.round_robin) # label of the synapse on target cell gid
    seed   = gid
    tstart = 1
    freq   = 0.005
    sched  = arbor.poisson_schedule(tstart, freq, seed)

    # construct an event generator with this schedule on target cell and weight 0.1
    w = 0.1
    return [arbor.event_generator(target, w, sched)]


Below is an example of a recipe construction of a ring network of multi-compartmental cells. Because the interface for specifying cable morphology cells is under construction, the temporary helpers in cell_parameters and make_cable_cell for building cells are used.

import sys
import arbor

class ring_recipe (arbor.recipe):

    def __init__(self, n=4):
        # The base C++ class constructor must be called first, to ensure that
        # all memory in the C++ class is initialized correctly.
        self.ncells = n
        self.params = arbor.cell_parameters()

    # The num_cells method that returns the total number of cells in the model
    # must be implemented.
    def num_cells(self):
        return self.ncells

    # The cell_description method returns a cell.
    def cell_description(self, gid):
        # Cell should have a synapse labeled "syn"
        # and a detector labeled "detector"
        return make_cable_cell(gid, self.params)

    # The kind method returns the type of cell with gid.
    # Note: this must agree with the type returned by cell_description.
    def cell_kind(self, gid):
        return arbor.cell_kind.cable

    # Make a ring network
    def connections_on(self, gid):
        src = (gid-1)%self.ncells
        w = 0.01
        d = 10
        return [arbor.connection((src,"detector"), "syn", w, d)]

    # Attach a generator to the first cell in the ring.
    def event_generators(self, gid):
        if gid==0:
            sched = arbor.explicit_schedule([1])
            return [arbor.event_generator("syn", 0.1, sched)]
        return []

    def get_probes(self, id):
        # Probe just the membrane voltage at a location on the soma.
        return [arbor.cable_probe_membrane_voltage('(location 0 0)')]