MACULAR: Numerical platform for large scale simulations of the retina in pathological conditions
Macular is a platform for the numerical simulation of the retina and primary visual cortex. This software is currently under development within the Biovision team of Inria (https://team.inria.fr/biovision/). It aims to reproduce the response of the retina to visual or electrical stimulation – produced by retinal prostheses – under normal or pathological conditions. The objective is to develop a tool that can be used by neuroscience researchers to reproduce experimental results, but also to guide their experiments through hypotheses that can be tested in the simulator. This can save a considerable amount of experimental resources. Macular is based on the central idea that its use and its graphics interface can evolve according to the objective of the user. It can be used in several cases, such as the simulation of retinal waves, the simulation of retinal and cortical responses to electrosurgical stimulation, the study of the contribution of specific classes of retinal cells in the encoding of visual scenes. Macular’s modular architecture makes it flexible and makes it easy to implement new features. It also includes a scripting option, which offers the user the ability to decode his own model, with a given set of equations, variables, and parameters, without having to program code. Finally, thanks to a highly parallelizable architecture, Macular makes it possible to simulate a large number of cells of different classes.