Telluride Workshop and Summer School on Neuromorphic Engineering

From: Giacomo Indiveri (giacomo@ini.phys.ethz.ch)
Date: Fri Jan 11 2002 - 19:09:02 MET

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    We invite applications for the annual three week "Telluride Workshop and Summer School on Neuromorphic Engineering" that will be held in Telluride, Colorado from Sunday, June 30 to Saturday, July 21. 2002. The application deadline is FRIDAY, MARCH 15, and application instructions are described at the bottom of this document.

    Like each of these workshops that have taken place since 1994, the 2001 Workshop and Summer School on Neuromorphic Engineering, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the Gatsby Foundation, Whitaker Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, and by the Center for Neuromorphic Systems Engineering at the California Institute of Technology, was an exciting event and a great success. A detailed report is available at the web-site: http://www.ini.unizh.ch/telluride01. We strongly encourage interested parties to browse through the previous workshop web pages. For a discussion of the underlying science and technology and a report on the 2001 school, see the September 20 issue of "The Economist" (or visit the web-page http://www.economist.com/science/tq/displayStory.cfm?Story_ID=779503 )

    GOALS:

    Carver Mead introduced the term "Neuromorphic Engineering" for a new field based on the design and fabrication of artificial neural systems, such as vision systems, head-eye systems, and roving robots, whose architecture and design principles are based on those of biological nervous systems. The goal of this workshop is to bring together young investigators and more established researchers from academia with their counterparts in industry and national laboratories, working on both neurobiological as well as engineering aspects of sensory systems and sensory-motor integration. The focus of the workshop will be on active participation, with demonstration systems and hands on experience for all participants. Neuromorphic engineering has a wide range of applications from nonlinear adaptive control of complex systems to the design of smart sensors, vision, speech understanding and robotics. Many of the fundamental principles in this field, such as the use of learning methods and the design of parallel hardware (with an emphasis on analog and asynchronous digital VLSI), are inspired by biological systems. However, existing applications are modest and the challenge of scaling up from small artificial neural networks and designing completely autonomous systems at the levels achieved by biological systems lies ahead. The assumption underlying this three week workshop is that the next generation of neuromorphic systems would benefit from closer attention to the principles found through experimental and theoretical studies of real biological nervous systems as whole systems.

    FORMAT:

    The three week summer school will include background lectures on systems neuroscience (in particular learning, oculo-motor and other motor systems and attention), practical tutorials on analog VLSI design, small mobile robots (Koalas, Kheperas and LEGO), hands-on projects, and special interest groups. Participants are required to take part and possibly complete at least one of the projects proposed. They are furthermore encouraged to become involved in as many of the other activities proposed as interest and time allow. There will be two lectures in the morning that cover issues that are important to the community in general. Because of the diverse range of backgrounds among the participants, the majority of these lectures will be tutorials, rather than detailed reports of current research. These lectures will be given by invited speakers. Participants will be free to explore and play with whatever they choose in the afternoon. Projects and interest groups meet in the late afternoons, and after dinner. In the early afternoon there will be tutorial on a wide spectrum of topics, including analog VLSI, mobile robotics, auditory systems, central-pattern-generators, selective attention mechanisms, etc.

    Projects that are carried out during the workshop will be centered in a number of working groups, including: * active vision * audition * olfaction * motor control * central pattern generator * robotics * multichip communication * analog VLSI * learning

    The active perception project group will emphasize vision and human sensory-motor coordination. Issues to be covered will include spatial localization and constancy, attention, motor planning, eye movements, and the use of visual motion information for motor control. Demonstrations will include an active vision system consisting of a three degree-of-freedom pan-tilt unit, and a silicon retina chip.

    The central pattern generator group will focus on small walking and undulating robots. It will look at characteristics and sources of parts for building robots, play with working examples of legged and segmented robots, and discuss CPG's and theories of nonlinear oscillators for locomotion. It will also explore the use of simple analog VLSI sensors for autonomous robots.

    The robotics group will use rovers and working digital vision boards as well as other possible sensors to investigate issues of sensorimotor integration, navigation and learning.

    The audition group aims to develop biologically plausible algorithms and aVLSI implementations of specific auditory tasks such as source localization and tracking, and sound pattern recognition. Projects will be integrated with visual and motor tasks in the context of a robot platform.

    The multichip communication project group will use existing interchip communication interfaces to program small networks of artificial neurons to exhibit particular behaviors such as amplification, oscillation, and associative memory. Issues in multichip communication will be discussed.

    LOCATION AND ARRANGEMENTS:

    The SCHOOL will take place in the small town of Telluride, 9000 feet high in Southwest Colorado, about 6 hours drive away from Denver (350 miles). United Airlines provide daily flights directly into Telluride. All facilities within the beautifully renovated public school building are fully accessible to participants with disabilities. Participants will be housed in ski condominiums, within walking distance of the school. Participants are expected to share condominiums.

    The workshop is intended to be very informal and hands-on. Participants are not required to have had previous experience in analog VLSI circuit design, computational or machine vision, systems level neurophysiology or modeling the brain at the systems level. However, we strongly encourage active researchers with relevant backgrounds from academia, industry and national laboratories to apply, in particular if they are prepared to work on specific projects, talk about their own work or bring demonstrations to Telluride (e.g. robots, chips, software). Internet access will be provided. Technical staff present throughout the workshops will assist with software and hardware issues. We will have a network of PCs running LINUX and Microsoft Windows.

    No cars are required. Given the small size of the town, we recommend that you do NOT rent a car. Bring hiking boots, warm clothes and a backpack, since Telluride is surrounded by beautiful mountains. Unless otherwise arranged with one of the organizers, we expect participants to stay for the entire duration of this three week workshop.

    FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENT:

    Notification of acceptances will be mailed out around Monday, April 8. 2002. Participants are expected to pay a $275.00 workshop fee at that time in order to reserve a place in the workshop. The cost of a shared condominium will be covered for all academic participants but upgrades to a private room will cost extra. Participants from National Laboratories and Industry are expected to pay for these condominiums. Travel reimbursement of up to $500 for US domestic travel and up to $800 for overseas travel will be possible if financial help is needed (Please specify on the application).

    HOW TO APPLY:

    Applicants should be at the level of graduate students or above (i.e., postdoctoral fellows, faculty, research and engineering staff and the equivalent positions in industry and national laboratories). We actively encourage qualified women and minority candidates to apply.

    Application should include: * First name, Last name, valid email address. * Curriculum Vitae. * One page summary of background and interests relevant to the workshop. * Description of special equipment or software needed for demonstrations that could be brought to the workshop. * Two letters of recommendation

    Complete applications should be sent to:

    Terrence Sejnowski The Salk Institute 10010 North Torrey Pines Road San Diego, CA 92037 e-mail: telluride@salk.edu FAX: (858) 587 0417

    APPLICATION DEADLINE: MARCH 15, 2002

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