Neuromorphic Engineering Workshop - SECOND CALL

From: Giacomo Indiveri (
Date: Thu Mar 07 2002 - 15:48:05 MET

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    Workshop on Neuromorphic Engineering

    Please distribute this announcement:

    Neuromorphic Engineering Workshop
    Sunday, JUNE 30 - Saturday, JULY 20, 2002

    Avis COHEN (University of Maryland)
    Rodney DOUGLAS (Institute of Neuroinformatics, UNI/ETH Zurich, Switzerland)
    Timmer HORIUCHI (Johns Hopkins University)
    Giacomo INDIVERI (Institute of Neuroinformatics, UNI/ETH Zurich,
    Christof KOCH (California Institute of Technology)
    Terrence SEJNOWSKI (Salk Institute and UCSD)
    Shihab SHAMMA (University of Maryland)

    We invite applications for a three week summer workshop that will be
    held in Telluride, Colorado from Sunday, June 30 to Sunday, July 21,
    2002. The application deadline is Friday, March 15, and application
    instructions are described at the bottom of this document.
    The 2001 summer workshop 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 on the workshop is available at the workshop's
    web-site. We strongly encourage interested parties to browse through the
    previous workshop web pages.
    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. 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.

    The three week summer workshop 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,

         * 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
    communicationwill be discussed.
    The workshop will take place in the small town of Telluride, 9000 feet
    high in Southwest Colorado, about 6 hours drive away from Denver
    (350miles). 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. 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.
    Notification of acceptances will be mailed out around March 21, 2001.
    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).

    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
         * Description of special equipment 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
    FAX: (858) 587 0417

    Applicants will be notified by e-mail around the end of March.

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