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AISB event Bulletin Item

CF Applications: Telluride Neuromorphic Engineering Workshop 2007

*Neuromorphic Engineering Workshop
Call for Applications
Sunday, July 1st - Saturday, July 21, 2007
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, Switzerland)
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, July 1st to Saturday, July 21st, 2007. The application deadline is Friday, March 23rd, and application instructions are described at the bottom of this document.

The 2007 Workshop and Summer School on Neuromorphic Engineering is sponsored by the National Science Foundation, Institute of Neuromorphic Engineering, Airforce Research Office, Eglin Airforce Research Lab,  Institute for NeuroInfomatics - ETHZ, Geogia Institute of Technology, University of Maryland - College Park, Johns Hopkins University, and The Salk Institute.

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:


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 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 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 2007./* Participants are expected to pay a 0.00 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 0 for US domestic travel and up to 0 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 "Ralph Etienne-Cummings" ).

The application deadline is Friday, March 23, 2007.
Applicants will be notified by e-mail by the end of April.