[Comp-neuro] Reminder: Neuromorphic Engineering Workshop 2006

Ralph Etienne-Cummings retienne at jhu.edu
Tue Mar 14 07:59:19 CET 2006

Reminder:   Please forgive us if you get this announcement more than once:

Neuromorphic Engineering Workshop
Call for Applications
Sunday, June 25 - Saturday, July 15, 2006
Telluride, Colorado

Avis COHEN (University of Maryland)
Rodney DOUGLAS (Institute of Neuroinformatics, UNI/ETH Zurich, Switzerland)
Ralph ETIENNE-CUMMINGS (Johns Hopkins University)
Paul HASLER (Georgia Institute of Technology)
Timmer HORIUCHI (University of Maryland)
Giacomo INDIVERI (Institute of Neuroinformatics, UNI/ETH Zurich, 
Christof KOCH (California Institute of Technology)- Past Organization 
Board Member
Terrence SEJNOWSKI (Salk Institute and UCSD)
Shihab SHAMMA (University of Maryland)
Andre van SCHAIK(University of Sydney)

We invite applications for a three week summer workshop that will be 
held in Telluride, Colorado from Sunday, June 25 to Saturday, July 15, 
2006. The application deadline is Friday, March 24, and application 
instructions are described at the bottom of this document.

The 2005 Workshop and Summer School on Neuromorphic Engineering is 
sponsored by the National Science Foundation, Institute of Neuromorphic 
Engineering, Wow Wee Toys, Airforce Research Office, Eglin Airforce 
Research Lab, Nova Sensors, Institute for NeuroInfomatics - ETHZ, Geogia 
Institute of Technology, University of Maryland - College Park, Johns 
Hopkins University, The Salk Institute, and by the Center for 
Neuromorphic Systems Engineering at the California Institute of Technology.

Last year's workshop was an exciting event and a great success. We 
strongly encourage interested parties to browse through the previous 
workshop web pages at: http://ine-web.org/workshops/past-workshops


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, LEGO robots), 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
* motor control
* central pattern generator and locomotion
* robotics
* multichip communication
* analog VLSI
* learning
* neuroprosthetic systems

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.

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 

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 summer school will take place in the small town of Telluride, 9000 
feet high in Southwest Colorado, about 6 hours drive away from Denver 
(350miles). Great Lakes Aviation and America West Express 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 for the workshop 
projects. We also plan to provide wireless internet access and encourage 
participants to bring along their personal laptop.

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, rain gear, 
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 mid April 2006. 
Participants are expected to pay a $800.00 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 women and minority candidates to apply.

The application website is: 

Application will include:

* First name, Last name, Affiliation, valid e-mail address.
* Curriculum Vitae.
* One page summary of background and interests relevant to the workshop.
* Two letters of recommendation (to be sent by references directly to 
"Alice W. Mobaidin" <mobaidin at isr.umd.edu>).

The application deadline is Friday, March 24, 2006.
Applicants will be notified by e-mail by the end of April.

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