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Virtual Retina
Large scale simulator of biological retina
INRIA CeCILL C open-source license (2007)
Partially supported by the EC IP project FP6-015879 FACETS
Odyss�e research-team, INRIA Sophia Antipolis - M�diterran�e

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Technical prerequisites
  • Runs under linux Compiled with gcc version 3.4 or more.
  • Also runs under mac (thanks to
  • Required helper softwares (included in the archive)
    - MVASpike , an event-driven neural network simulation software
    - CImg, an image processing library
    - libxml++ , an xml parsing software
    - xmlParameters++ , a small helper library producing an interface between c++ parameters and an xml tree.


retina_package.tar.gz is the archive with Virtual Retina and other required libraries. It also contains the tutorial explaining in details both installation and usage of the software.


A shell comand performs an automatic installation of all libraries. Basic directions are also provided in the tutorial (included in the archive; also available here) for those wishing to perform a custom, manual installation.


tutorial is available, explaining both installation procedure and usage of the software in detail. Some README files in the archive also contain some information. Typically, the program is called under a LINUX shell, with a syntax that looks like this:

Retina   path/to/my/test_sequence*.pgm   -ret my_retina.xml  -r 10  -outD path/to/my/saving/directory

with possible options:
  • test sequences can be 2d frames under any usual format (as here), or directly a .inr 3-dimensional file.
  • -ret  gives the path to the retina definition file in xml format.
  • -r 10 : each input frame is presented to the retina for a duration of 10*(retinal time step) = 50 ms in this case.
  • -outD : path to the directory where all simulation files will be saved.
  • etc. Full list of options by typing -h.
Virtual Retina contains a number of customized retina definition files that you can directly use to start your first simulations.

Log file
A log file has been created to keep track of the succesive changes in the format required for the XML definition file.

Retina schema

If you want to create a Retina configuration file, you can find a RelaxNG schema of the options you must provide there : retinaSchema.rng.
So you should be able to valide your Retina configuration file with a command like that (xmllint is part of libxml package) :
xmllint your_xml_file.xml --noout --relaxng retinaSchema.rng