Neuromorphic Engineering Workshop - SECOND CALL

From: Giacomo Indiveri (
Date: Tue Apr 23 2002 - 08:58:11 CEST

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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