Call for Topic Area Proposals 2020 Telluride Neuromorphic Cognition Engineering Workshop

    26 November, 2019, by Shih-Chii Liu


    DEADLINE: Friday, January 10th, 2020

    We are currently accepting proposals for Topic Areas in the 2020 Telluride Neuromorphic Cognition Engineering Workshop, taking place in Telluride, Colorado, June 28 –July 17, 2020. For over two decades, the Workshop has been influential in shaping the field of neuromorphic engineering and connecting multiple disciplines, including neuroscience, cognitive science, machine learning, robotics, control, computer vision and audition.

    For the 2020 workshop, we seek proposals that touch on learning and intelligence and with an emphasis on closing the loop between perception, cognition, learning, and the motor system. Projects should involve neuromorphic and bio-inspired concepts or connect from these areas to other mainstream areas such as deep learning. We support topic areas that touch on the following domains:

    • Neural architectures for cognitive computing,
    • Applications of neuromorphic technology (sensor and computing platforms) on "real-world" tasks in areas such as computer vision, audition, and robot control,
    • Mathematical models and algorithms for event processing including deep learning and signal processing algorithms,
    • Higher-level cognition, language, and reasoning,
    • Robotics for navigation and manipulation including control.

    Topic area proposals should include a list of projects and also target an "everyday" task that biological brains solve with ease. Projects should focus on those which pose significant challenges to current artificial computing systems. They should also have a tutorial component for the workshop participants. Topic areas should aim for impressive demonstrators as the outcome of three weeks of focused work.

    Successful proposals in the past have focused on topics such as navigating through an unknown environment, visual and auditory understanding of scenes and human actions in real-time environments, adaptively manipulating objects in the service of a household task, neural network architectures for cognitive computing and their efficient hardware implementation, EEG-based systems to decode acoustic events, neuroprosthetic control, deep learning systems and transfer learning, etc. See these example topic areas from the 2019 workshop.

    Topic area organizers are expected to be actively involved in coordination activities with other areas, e.g., advertising their topic area on the Workshop website, inviting top researchers covering different aspects of their project, and actively promoting the Workshop for applicants that could be interested in their topic area. Topic proposals must include hands-on tutorials and educational overview presentations. Topic areas are meant to educate participating students, establish new links between disciplines, critically evaluate competing approaches, and encourage after-workshop collaboration between groups.

    Topic area leaders will receive housing for themselves and their invitees (only up to 6 bedrooms), and limited travel funds. Topic area leaders will help to define the field of neuromorphic cognition engineering through the projects they pursue and the people they invite. They shape their topic by inviting speakers and project staff (the invitees) and by initiating topic discussions during and prior to the workshop. Proposals with exactly 2 topic leaders are required, and at least one leader must be present at any given time during the workshop.

    Pre-workshop topic area choices and study assignments.At least one week before the workshop begins, each topic area will be required to prepare and distribute study materials that constitute: 1) an introductory presentation (e.g., pptx, video, review paper) of the fundamental knowledge associated with the topic area that everyone at the workshop should be exposed to, 2) a collection of a few critical papers that the participants in the topic area should read before the workshop, and 3) a syllabus of the first week hands-on tutorial exercises. The topic area should begin a group discussion of the projects (e.g., via the workshop wiki, Skype, email, etc).

    The maximum 3-page proposals should include:

    1. Title of topic area.
    2. Names of the two topic leaders, their affiliations, and contact information (email addresses). Please note that there can only be TWO topic leaders. Other co-organizers or supporting staff can be named as invitees.
    3. A paragraph explaining the focus and goals of the topic area and its relation to the goals of expanding the neuromorphic community.
    4. A list of possible specific topic area projects.
    5. A clear plan to prepare students for the project, including a syllabus of lectures and hands-on tutorials at the workshop with preparatory material (websites, software, video lectures, etc).
    6. A list of (neuromorphic or otherwise) sensors, hardware platforms, software packages, robots, or any other special equipment that are a part of your topic area project.
    7. A list of planned invitees that you have contacted (up to six names and institutions).
    8. Any other material that fits within the three-page limit that will help us make a smart choice.

    Send your topic area proposal in pdf or text format to with subject line containing "topic area proposal". If you do not get a response confirming receipt of your proposal, please contact one of the workshop organizers directly.

    Proposals must be received by the deadline of Friday, January 10, 2020. Proposals received after the deadline may still be considered if space is available.

    We expect to accept 4 topic areas. We hope to have significant turn-over each year in the topic areas and leaders to ensure fresh new ideas and participants.

    The workshop is organized by the Institute of Neuromorphic Engineering. See for the 2020 workshop web page.

    We look forward to your topic proposals!

    The 2020 Workshop Organizing Team:

    Shih-Chii Liu (University of Zurich and ETH Zurich)

    Emre Neftci (University of California, Irvine)

    Cornelia Fermüller (University of Maryland)

    Guido Zarrella (MITRE)

    Terry Stewart (National Research Council of Canada)

    Andreas Andreou (John Hopkins University)

    Tobi Delbruck (University of Zurich and ETH Zurich)

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