About

NengoROS is newly developed open-source SW tool for simulating complex hybrid (neural) systems. This SW extends the simulator of Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) called Nengo with the ability to communicate by means of Robotic Operating System (ROS).

Nengo ( http://nengo.ca/ ) is a large-scale simulator of ANNs, which is designed for simulations based on Neural Engineering Framework (NEF) [1]. The Robotic Operating System (ROS) ( http://ros.org/ ) is an open-source tool for connecting various pieces of software and hardware together over the TCP/IP protocol. The ROS was originally created for use in the field of robotics. The experimental Java implementation of ROS (rosjava) is used here.

The main aim of the NengoROS simulator is put on ability to conduct more general (and less biologically-plausible) simulations than the original Nengo. Strong focus is put on connectivity to other existing (both, mainly robotic HW and SW) components. Connecting Nengo with ROS enables the tool to include potentially arbitrary piece of SW and/or HW into a simulation of cognitive/ALife agent architecture. We believe that this greatly extends the possibilities of the simulator brings cognitive simulations towards the real world robotics. One of the goals of this project is also to create library of reusable ROS-based SW components for cognitive and ALife architectures, some of them are currently published as part of the NengoROS simulator. Currently, the simulator is used for simulating hybrid agent architectures composed of reusable ROS-based modules together with the NEF.

Original Nengo is implemented in Java and the NengoROS uses own rosjava core, therefore the entire SW is potentially platform independent. Currently Unix systems are being supported, furthermore, the NengoROS can be used together with the ROS installation.

The NengoROS is currently developed in dept. of  Cybernetics  on  Czech Technical University in Prague in group aimed to research in Artificial Life , which is lead by Doc. Ing. Nahodil Pavel CSc. The NengoROS is created by Jaroslav Vitku as part of his Dissertation thesis, more information can be found here and java documentation can be found here.
[1] Stewart, T.C., A Technical Overview of the Neural Engineering Framework, Tech report, Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience, 2012, http://compneuro.uwaterloo.ca/files/publications/stewart.2012d.pdf

[2] Quigley, M. et al, ROS: an open-source Robot Operating System, ICRA Workshop on Open Source Software, 2009, http://pub1.willowgarage.com/~konolige/cs225B/docs/quigley-icra2009-ros.pdf

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