Capocaccia 2022 - a review

    4 August, 2022, by Michael Schmuker


    After two years of waiting we finally saw a new edition of the Capocaccia workshop for Neuromorphic Intelligence this year. It took place from 2/5/ to 14/5 2022 at the excellent Hotel bei Pini, near Alghero, on the beautiful island of Sardinia, Italy.

    The enthusiasm to finally meet in person again was palpable at every moment of the meeting—everyone seemed very happy to mingle with like-minded neuromorphic enthusiasts and pioneers in the field. This year’s workshop theme was “Solving Problems that animals must solve”, clearly compounding bioinspiration with solving computational problems in the real world, but also analysing the challenges that agents face, be it living beings or mechanical/electronic or software/simulated entities.

    The mornings were dedicated to plenary tutorials, i.e., interactive lectures where experts introduced problem domains like theoretical and neuromorphic computation, memory and neural plasticity, among others. Two sessions stood out since they were new additions to the programme this year: “Navigation”, and “Classification and Clustering”. The Navigation session was led by Barbara Webb (U Edinburgh), Pavan Ramdya (EPFL), and Julien Serres (U Aix-Marseille). They gave a stunning recap of the problems that ants solve navigating with specialised sensory organs that decode the polarisation of light in the sky to find direction, and the brain structures involved in navigation. Thomas Nowotny (U Sussex) and Simon Thorpe (CNRS) led the session on Classification and Clustering, where they gave much-welcome insight on fast inference using spiking circuits, and the various pitfalls when training classifiers, among other things.

    In the afternoons, plenty of workgroups were competing for participants’ contributions, offering either hands-on experience with neuromorphic hardware, event-based sensors, robots, and theoretical challenges.

    All in all, it started off as a great workshop! Participants soaked up knowledge in the plenaries, eagerly contributed to hands-on-workgroups, discussed enthusiastically over breakfast, lunch, dinner and until late at night. In addition, the participants organised some excellent non-scientific workgroups that everyone could join, e.g. rock climbing, hiking, chocolate tasting, just to mention a few.

    But then, just after the first week was about to finish, it happened: the first confirmed COVID cases among participants. The strict Italian rules required that if someone tested positive they needed to self-isolate. At first the number was small, but each day more participants tested positive. The organisers did what they could, reinforcing the recommendation to wear masks and to keep distance at all times, and hosting as many activities as possible in outside spaces instead of seminar rooms. While these measures clearly had an impact on how the workshop ran, one must admire tenacity of the organising team the workshop on its rails, and the dedication of the participants to keep going, in spite of the adverse circumstances.

    Taken together, it’s fair to say that while the 2022 Capocaccia workshop didn’t quite go according to plan, it still served the purpose of creating community among researchers in Neuromorphic Technology. Some important new topics have been introduced to the community. New connections have been formed, as they can only be formed at in-person meetings. Certainly COVID will continue to be a risk to be taken into account for future meetings and workshops. This year’s Capocaccia workshop has demonstrated that there is also huge benefit to meeting face to face with enthusiastic researchers in a relaxed and creative atmosphere—which is a success in itself.

    Here’s to hoping that future workshops will see less disruption by pandemic events!


    17 March, 2020

    CapoCaccia 2020 and Telluride Cancelled

    by Michael Schmuker

    Moore's law about the exponential growth of transistor count in conventional chips is nothings against how fast things are moving with CoViD-19. Conference and workshop organisers are facing tough decisions these days due to the rapid spread of the virus, and the mounting uncertainty regarding the ability to travel among many scientists across the world.


    10 February, 2020

    The NEUROTECH best demo award @ CapoCaccia

    by Sam Sutton

    One of the many things that makes the Capocaccia Workshop so unique is the concept that participants form groups to work on neuromorphic demos, to be presented on the last day of the workshop.

    Each year, NEUROTECH awards a prize, worth 500 €, for the best neuromorphic demo at the CapoCaccia workshop. In 2019, a cross-institutional team of five young researchers convinced the jury with their project on an event-based electronic nose.


    11 November, 2019

    NEUROTECH Fellowships for CapoCaccia 2020

    by Michael Schmuker

    It's that time of the year again: Days are getting short, it's getting colder, and everyone in the NEUROTECH community is eagerly awaiting a special event... the call for Capocaccia Fellowship applications!

    Wait no longer!


    10 September, 2019

    CapoCaccia 2019

    by Gabriela Michel

    From Apr 23 - May 04, 2019 the 13th CapoCaccia Cognitive Neuromorphic Engineering Workshop took place at the Hotel dei Pini located close to Alghero, in the beautiful island of Sardinia, Italy.

    This conference has been running every year since 2007, and this is the 6th time I have personally been able to attend. The first time I was in CapoCaccia everything was new and imposing. Now, some years after and 6 CapoCaccias later, I, together with others, had the opportunity to be part of the organizing committee of this meeting.


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