The NeuroML project focuses on the development of an XML (eXtensible Markup Language) based description language that provides a common data format for defining and exchanging descriptions of neuronal cell and network models. The current approach in the project uses XML schemas to define the model specifications.
The current scope of NeuroML focuses on models which are based on the biophysical and anatomical properties of real neurons, i.e. which include details of the detailed neuronal morphologies, the membrane conductances which underly action potential generation (conductance based models), and which are based on known anatomical connectivity.
For this reason, the NeuroML model description language is being developed in Levels, where each Level concentrates on a particular biophysical scale.
The modular nature of the specifications makes them easier to develop, understand, and use since one can focus on one module at a time; however, the modules are designed to fit together seamlessly.
Current schemas and more readable formats for the schemas are available on the specifications page. One of the best ways to gain a better understanding of the structure of the standards is to view the XML source for examples of specific models.
A paper describing the latest stable version of NeuroML has recently been published in PLoS Computational Biology: NeuroML: A Language for Describing Data Driven Models of Neurons and Networks with a High Degree of Biological Detail, P Gleeson, S Crook, RC Cannon, ML Hines, GO Billings, M Farinella, TM Morse, AP Davison, S Ray, US Bhalla, SR Barnes, YD Dimitrova, RA Silver. It can be downloaded here and it describes in detail the structure of version 1.x (Levels 1-3, MorphML, ChannelML, NetworkML), includes a detailed discussion of the elements present at each level along with example NeuroML code (see the supporting text of the paper), outlines current simulator support, and presents a number of new cell and network models which have recently been converted to the format.
If you are interested in creating NeuroML documents or generating code to simulate models from NeuroML documents, visit our tools page and view related projects to see how NeuroML can be used with existing simulation platforms.
NeuroML version 2.0 is in active development. See here for details on the ongoing work towards this new version of the language.