Licensing for commercial use


I’m trying to figure out if it’s worth learning Nengo if I would like to use it for a commercial application. SOAR is BSD, so you can actually invest in learning it.

There’s an assignment of IP if you want to be a contributor it looks like, but the rest is a bit confusing. Does anyone know the particulars of the commercial licensing?


Great to hear you are thinking of using Nengo for a commercial project! Nengo is free for research purposes, so we welcome you to use Nengo as long as you like while learning it and evaluating whether it fits your particular use case.

If Nengo does meet your needs, then send an email to to discuss a licensing agreement that works for you. Because of the specialized nature of Nengo, we don’t have an one-size-fits-all pricing structure, and instead take into account the nature of the commercial usage (how critical is Nengo to the application), the desired pricing structure (license fees vs royalty agreements) and the nature of the business (e.g. large corporation vs startup).

We would also be happy to meet with you (through a conference call or video chat) to talk about your use case and see if it’s something that we think Nengo would be particularly well-suited for.

As to Soar, the Soar architecture works at a much higher level than Nengo – it takes some inspiration from human behavior, but does not constrain its implementation to using human-like parts. Nengo and other architectures that use neural networks face additional challenges due to the neural implementation, but also have significant benefits in terms of generalization and efficiency. Nengo can also be used for even more biologically constrained models, namely those using spiking neurons, which again pose additional challenges but yield significant efficiency benefits. So, a model that might be implemented in Soar can very likely be implemented in Nengo, the question is whether your use case is one in which the benefits of a Nengo implementation outweigh the challenges. This is something we’d be happy to chat with you about.