Computational modeling of neural substrates provides an excellent theoretical framework for the understanding of the computational roles of neuromodulation. In this review, we illustrate, with a large number of modeling studies, the specific computations performed by neuromodulation in the context of various neural models of invertebrate and vertebrate preparations. We base our characterization of neuromodulations on their computational and functional roles rather than on anatomical or chemical criteria. We review the main framework in which neuromodulation has been studied theoretically (central pattern generation and oscillations, sensory processing, memory and information integration). Finally, we present a detailed mathematical overview of how neuromodulation has been implemented at the single cell and network levels in modeling studies. Overall, neuromodulation is found to increase and control computational complexity.