Topographica is a general-purpose neural simulator focusing on
topographic maps. The simulator is under continuous development, and
scripts developed for one version are likely to need modification to
run with subsequent versions. Saved snapshot files will often
continue to work with new versions, but they are not guaranteed to do
This program is free, open-source software available under the BSD
license (see LICENSE.txt).
This document describes how to start with Topographica from the
complete set of source code, which includes source code packages for
all its dependencies. Most users will instead want to start with the
pre-packaged distributions available for most platforms; see
topographica.org/Downloads for links and instructions.
Before you start, make sure that you have a copy of Topographica in a
directory where you have at least 1200MB of disk space available.
To read more about Topographica before trying to build it, you can
build the documentation separately from compiling Topographica itself.
If PHP4, m4, bibtex, convert, and fig2dev are installed on your system
(as in most Linux distributions), just change to the topographica
directory and type "make doc reference-manual". (This step is only
necessary when building from SVN; released versions include the
documentation already built.)
Once the documentation has been built, load doc/index.html into your
web browser. If there are any problems generating or reading the
local copy, you can instead use the web-based documentation at
www.topographica.org. (The doc/ directory is just a copy of the
www.topographica.org site, although the web site will not necessarily
match this particular copy of Topographica.)
Alternatively, for each <file>.html you can simply read the
corresponding source file <file>_text.php in a text editor.
The topographica directory includes the files necessary to build
Topographica from source code on most platforms. All non-standard
external libraries are included and for most platforms are built from
source. This approach makes the initial compilation time longer and
the simulator directory larger, but it minimizes the changes necessary
for specific platforms and operating system versions.
For specific instructions, see the "Build all Topographica's
dependencies" and "Building Topographica" sections in
See doc/Tutorials/index.html for examples of getting started with
Topographica, and doc/index.html for all of the documentation. You
can also get online help from the Topographica command line using
help(), or from the shell command line using "./bin/pydoc some-text".