The Virtual Brain

Cutting-edge brain simulation.

For laptops, servers and clusters.

What you need in a nutshell:

    • Any recent Mac or PC is fine.
    • Supports servers and HPC clusters
    • Works with recent Windows, Mac OS X and Linux
    • Works with modern browsers
    • Allows unlimited users and sharing
    • It's open source and free

Modern hardware: Macs, PCs, servers and HPC clusters

As The Virtual Brain pushes the envelope of practical brain simulation, the hardware you use should be fairly modern. However, the software scales automatically with your needs and resources:

  • One CPU core is needed for one simulation. If you launch more simulations than the number of available CPU cores, we recommend serialization: this can be done by setting the “maximum number of parallel threads” (in the software settings) to the same value as the number of CPU cores.
  • For a single, region-level simulation, 8 GB of RAM should be sufficient. We recommend at least 16 GB of RAM, especially if you intend to run more complex simulations. Surface-level simulations require even more RAM, going up with the number of vertices.
  • Simulating only 10 ms of brain activity on a surface level may occupy around 300 MB of disk space. Basically, we recommend a minimum of 50 GB disk space per user as a rough approximation.
  • Many visualizers display high-resolution graphics. Your monitor should be capable of displaying at least 1600 x 1000 pixels, otherwise some views will be truncated.

If you install TVB on a server, you can share it with an unlimited number of other users and mitigate some of these hardware requirements:

  • Installing TVB in a client/server configuration delegates the hardware requirements for visualization to the client. The server only conducts the operations for simulations and analysis, so it doesn't need powerful graphics hardware. Client access can be established by simply pointing the browser to the URL of the TVB server, e.g.

  • The cluster installation is quite similar to the server installation. Please note that SLURM is expected to be configured separately from TVB and accessible to the user for which the TVB software is launched.

    On Human Brain Project infrastructure, the TVB software works with the Red Hat OpenShift platform.

Please have a look at our documentation website, where we go into great detail about various configuration options.

Modern software: Many platforms, all major browsers

Operating systems

  • The current version of TVB was tested on Windows 10. It might still work fine on other versions, as long as they are x64. The installer package was generated on top of an Anaconda Installation.
  • The Mac version was tested on macOS 11.6 but should also run smoothly on small variations from this version.
  • The Linux version was tested on Debian and Fedora. You need to have installed a glibc version of 2.14 or higher. The package was generated on top of an Anaconda Installation.


We've tested the software on the latest versions of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari. Using a different, less capable browser might result in some features not working or the user interface looking awkward at times.

Optional: MatLab or Octave

A special feature in TVB is utilizing functions from the Brain Connectivity Toolbox. This feature thus requires a MatLab or Octave package on your computer (installed, activated and added to your OS' global PATH variable).

The Brain Connectivity Toolbox doesn't need to be installed or enabled separately in any way, as TVB will temporarily append it to your MatLab/Octave path.