Numerical investigation of a neural field model including dendritic processing

Daniele Avitabile, Stephen Coombes, Pedro M. Lima

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We consider a simple neural field model in which the state variable is dendritic voltage, and in which somas form a continuous one-dimensional layer. This neural field model with dendritic processing is formulated as an integro-differential equation. We introduce a computational method for approximating solutions to this nonlocal model, and use it to perform numerical simulations for neuro-biologically realistic choices of anatomical connectivity and nonlinear firing rate function. For the time discretisation we adopt an Implicit-Explicit (IMEX) scheme; the space discretisation is based on a finitedi fference scheme to approximate the diffusion term and uses the trapezoidal rule to approximate integrals describing the nonlocal interactions in the model. We prove that the scheme is of first-order in time and second order in space, and can be efficiently implemented if the factorisation of a small, banded matrix is precomputed. By way of validation we compare the outputs of a numerical realisation to theoretical predictions for the onset of a Turing pattern, and to the speed and shape of a travelling front for a specific choice of Heaviside firing rate. We find that theory and numerical simulations are in excellent agreement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-290
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Computational Dynamics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


P.M. Lima acknowledges support from Funda??o para a Ci?ncia e a Tecnologia (the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology) through the grants POCI-01-0145-FEDER-031393 and UIDB/04621/2020.

FundersFunder number
Fundação para a Ciência e a TecnologiaPOCI-01-0145-FEDER-031393, UIDB/04621/2020


    • Cable equation
    • Finite difference scheme
    • Integral equations
    • Neural fields
    • Travelling waves


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