Telluride 2001 Workshop on Neuromoprhic Engineering

Giacomo Indiveri giacomo at
Fri Jan 12 14:18:43 EST 2001

Please accept our apology for cross-postings.

Workshop application announcement:


                 Sunday, JULY 1 - Saturday, JULY 21, 2001
                            TELLURIDE, COLORADO
             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, Switzerland)
             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, July 1  to  Sunday, July 21,
2001. The application deadline is Friday, February 23, and application
instructions are described at the bottom of this document.
The 2000 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 
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

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 and Kheperas), hands-on projects,
and special  interest groups. Participants are  required  to take part
and possibly  complete at least one of  the projects proposed (soon to
be defined). 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.    The analog VLSI  practical  tutorials
will cover all aspects of  analog VLSI design, simulation, layout, and
testing during the three weeks of  the workshop. The first week covers
basics  of transistors, simple   circuit  design and simulation.  This
material is intended for   participants  who have no  experience  with
analog VLSI. The second  week will focus  on design frames for silicon
retinas, from the  silicon  compilation  and layout of  on-chip  video
scanners, to building the peripheral  boards necessary for interfacing
analog VLSI retinas   to video output monitors.  Retina  chips will be
provided. The third  week   will feature sessions on   floating gates,
including lectures  on the physics of  tunneling and injection, and on
inter-chip communication systems.  We will also  feature a tutorial on
the  use of small,  mobile robots,  focusing on  Koala's, as an ideal
platform for vision, auditory and sensory-motor circuits.
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 a robot head active vision system
consisting of a  three degree-of-freedom binocular  camera system that
is fully programmable.
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. 

The workshop will take place in the small town of Telluride, 9000 feet
high in Southwest Colorado, about 6 hours drive  away from Denver (350
miles).  America West   and  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
workstations running UNIX and 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 9, 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
     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
email: telluride at
FAX: (858) 587 0417
DEADLINE:  February 23, 2001
Applicants will be notified by email around March 9, 2001

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