Neural Information Processing Systems 2001 (NIPS*2001)
Neural Information Processing Systems: Natural and Synthetic
Monday, Dec. 3 -- Saturday, Dec. 8, 2001
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
This is the fifteenth meeting of an interdisciplinary conference which brings together cognitive scientists, computer scientists, engineers, neuroscientists, physicists, statisticians, and mathematicians interested in all aspects of neural processing and computation. The conference will include invited talks as well as oral and poster presentations of refereed papers. The conference is single track and is highly selective. Preceding the main session, there will be one day of tutorial presentations (Dec. 3), and following it there will be two days of focused workshops on topical issues at Whistler, a nearby ski area (Dec. 7-8). All NIPS papers are available online.

Click to download the NIPS brochure [pdf], which contains all the official information for NIPS, including the registration form. Check out the cool new NIPS poster [pdf]. Online registration is now closed (as of 11/28 5pm PST). Registration must now be done at the conference.

NOTE: For the first time, NIPS will be held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

The Program
Monday, December 3
 8:00 am - 6:00 pm Registration
 9:30 am - 5:30 pm Tutorials
 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm Conference Banquet

Tuesday, December 4 & Wednesday, December 5
 8:00 am - 6:00 pm Registration
 8:30 am - 12:00 pm Sessions
 2:00 pm - 5:15 pm Sessions
 10:00 am - 6:00 pm Poster Setup and Preview
 7:30 pm - 10:30 pm Poster Session

Thursday, December 6
 8:30 am - 12:00 pm Sessions
Thursday, December 6
 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm Buses Depart for Workshops
 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm Welcoming Reception and Registration at Delta Whistler

Friday, December 7
 7:00 am - 11:00 am Registration
 7:30 am - 10:30 am Workshop Sessions
 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm Workshop Sessions

Saturday, December 8
 7:30 am - 10:30 am Workshop Sessions
 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm Workshop Sessions
 7:30 pm - 10:30 pm Banquet & Wrap Up Meeting

Click to see the full NIPS*2001 program.
Tutorials this year will be:
  • Luc Devroye, McGill University -- Nonparametric density estimation: VC to the rescue
  • Daphne Koller, Stanford, & Nir Friedman, Hebrew University -- Learning Bayesian networks from data
  • Shawn Lockery, University of Oregon -- Why the worm turns: How to analyze the behavior of an animal and model its neuronal basis
  • Christopher Manning, Stanford -- Probabilistic linguistics and probabilistic models of natural language processing
  • Bernhard Scholkopf, Biowulf Technologies and Max-Planck-Institute for Biological Cybernetics -- SVM and Kernel methods
  • Sebastian Thrun, Carnegie Mellon University -- Probabilistic robotics
Invited Speakers
Invited speakers this year will be:
  • Barbara Finlay, Departments of Psychology, and Neurobiology and Behavior, Cornell University -- How brains evolve, and the consequences for computation
  • Alison Gopnik, Department of Psychology, University of California at Berkeley -- Babies and Bayes-nets: Causal inference and theory-formation in children, chimps, scientists and computers
  • Jon M. Kleinberg, Department of Computer Science, Cornell University -- Decentralized network algorithms: Small-world phenomena and the dynamics of information
  • Tom Knight, Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, MIT -- Computing with Life
  • Judea Pearl, Department of Computer Science, UCLA -- Causal inference as an exercise in computational learning
  • Shihab Shamma, Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Maryland -- Common principles in auditory and visual processing
Workshops following the main NIPS conference provide multi-track intensive sessions on topics ranging from computational learning theory to experimental neuroscience. The venue and schedule facilitate interaction, informality, and depth. (List subject to change. Titles abbreviated. Not all co-organizers listed. Workshops will have home pages maintained by their organizers, to which links continue to be provided.) The workshop sessions will end with a banquet on Saturday evening, December 8, 2001.

CANCELLED: Quantum Neural Computing, Preference Elicitation, Artificial Neural Networks in Safety-Related Areas, Knowledge Representation in Meta-Learning

2-Day Workshops (Friday, Dec 7th and Saturday, Dec 8th): Friday, December 7th: Saturday, December 8th:

Attending the Meeting
Dates, Locations, and Hotels
Please note that all hotel rates are listed in Canadian dollars. The approximate rate in US dollars is indicated in parentheses. The conversion rate at the time of the preparation of this brochure: 1.55707. Local taxes of 17% will be added to all quoted hotel rates. When making your hotel reservations, be sure to mention that you are a NIPS*2001 participant to receive the special group rate. Attendees are strongly encouraged to make their hotel reservations before the specified cutoff date for each hotel, as rooms are in high demand during this period and likely to be sold out afterwards, particularly for the workshops at Whistler.

Tutorials: December 3, 2001
Conference: December 4-6, 2001

The Conference and Tutorials will be held at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver.

Workshops: December 6-8, 2001
Accommodations are available at the Delta Whistler Resort and the Crystal Lodge. Both are located just a short walking distance from each other and from the Whistler Conference Center. Workshops will be held at both the Delta Whistler Resort and the Whistler Conference Center.

Hyatt Regency Vancouver
The hotel is located in downtown Vancouver, overlooking a mountain-rimmed harbor.

655 Burrard Street
Vancouver, British Columbia
Canada V6C 2R7

Online hotel reservations

604-639-4820 (reservation line)
604-639-4829 (reservation fax)
604-683-1234 (main hotel line)

Single/Double/Triple $129 (~$83 US)
Quadruple Occupancy $156 (~$100 US)
Daily Parking Fee $18.50 (~$12 US)

There will be an additional charge of $27 (~$17 US) per night for each additional person. Maximum room occupancy is four persons. A credit card or one night s room and tax pre-payment is needed to guarantee room reservations. The hotel has a 24-hour cancellation policy. An early departure fee of $75 (~$48 US) will be assessed if hotel is given less than 24-hour notice. Rooms will be held at the special NIPS*2001 rate until November 3, 2001. Beyond this date, the special rate is subject to space availability.
Delta Whistler Resort
The Delta Whistler Resort is located just next to the Conference Center and the Crystal Lodge.

4050 Whistler Way
Whistler, British Columbia
Canada VON 1B4

800-515-4050 (reservation line)
800-268-1133 (central reservation line)
604-932-7332 (reservation fax)
604-932-1982 (main hotel line)

Single/Double $149 (~$96 US)
Deluxe with Kitchenette $179 (~$115 US)
Junior Suite $389 (~$250 US)
Daily Parking Fee $14 (~$9 US)

Rates at the Delta Whistler Resort are per night for single or double occupancy. There will be an additional charge of $30 (~$19 US) per night for each additional person. Rooms will be held for NIPS*2001 participants at the special rate until November 6, 2001. After that date, reservations will be accepted on a space-availability basis only. Full payment is required seven days in advance at the Delta Whistler Resort. There is no refund for early checkouts, late check-ins, or no-shows. Cancellations within 14 days of arrival will be charged for the full amount of the original reservation.
Crystal Lodge
The Crystal Lodge is located just two-minutes walk from the Delta Whistler Resort and the Conference Center.

4154 Village Green
Whistler, British Columbia
Canada VON 1B4

800-667-3363 (reservation line)
604-932-2221 (main hotel line)
604-932-2635 (hotel fax)

Single/Double Standard Two Persons $109 (~$71 US)
Single/Double Studio Two Persons $136 (~$88 US)
Loft Four Persons $154 (~$100 US)
Three-Bedroom Suite Six Persons $405 (~$263 US)
Daily Parking Fee $8 (~$5 US)

Rates are per night for single or double occupancy. There will be a charge of $15 (~$10 US) per night for each additional person. The Crystal Lodge requires full payment at the time of reservation. There is no refund for early checkouts, late check-ins, or no-shows. Cancellations received less than 30 days in advance of reservation cannot be refunded. After that, reservations will be based on availability and rates at that time; cancellation policies will apply. Rooms will be held for NIPS participants at the special group rate until November 9, 2001.

Discount lift tickets, ski rentals and lessons at Whistler: Lift tickets for the NIPS*2001 Workshops will be sold at a special group rate of $44 (~$28 US) (plus 7% GST per adult day ticket). Rentals, retail items, sightseeing tickets, and lessons will also be available at discounts ranging from 5-10%. The special discount rates are available for NIPS*2001 group members (including guests and family) and are only available when purchasing tickets at the Conference registration desk at the Delta Whistler Resort, during the opening night reception on Thursday, December 6 and during Friday morning registration hours.
Local Transportation Options
Vancouver International Airport is 13 miles from downtown Vancouver and the trip takes approximately 30 minutes, depending on traffic. It is possible to find a variety of means of transportation to downtown Vancouver just outside of both the domestic and international terminals. There is an AIRPORTER bus that leaves from these locations every 15 minutes. The cost for bus service is $12 Canadian (~$8 US) each way. You may phone for information or advance reservations at 1-604-273-8436. You may also take a taxi or limo for approximately $20-$25 Canadian (~$13-16 US). Rental cars and vans are available from car rental agencies that have offices at the airport. Note: Since most means of transportation will accept either US or Canadian dollars or credit cards, participants should be prepared to offer one of these methods of payment for local transportation.

Driving instructions:
  • Vancouver International Airport to Hyatt Regency: (Driving time: ~25-40 minutes) Take Grant McConnachie Way over the Arthur Laing Bridge. Take the Granville Street Exit from bridge and continue straight down Granville Street (approximately 60 blocks). Turn left onto West 16th Avenue then turn right on Burrard Street. Continue down Burrard Street and over the Burrard Street Bridge. Continue on Burrard for approximately 8 blocks. You will see the Hyatt Regency Vancouver on the left. Pull into the front of the hotel and have your car valet parked or self-park.
  • Hyatt Regency Vancouver to Whistler: (Driving time: ~2-2.5 hours) From the Hyatt Regency on Burrard, head South on Burrard and turn right (West) on Georgia and follow it through Stanley Park and over the Lions Gate Bridge. Exit west off/under the bridge and into West Vancouver. Turn right on Taylor Way at Park Royal Shopping Centre. Follow Taylor Way half-a-mile up the hill to the Highway 1 (Trans-Canada) overpass. Join Highway 1 Westbound until you reach the junction with Highway 99 (Sea-to-Sky Highway). Exit right onto Highway 99. Follow this route for just over 100 kilometers along scenic Howe Sound, past Squamish to Whistler.
  • International Airport to Whistler: (Driving time: ~2.5 hours) Take Grant McConnachie Way (the main route out of the Vancouver International Airport) and over the Arthur Laing Bridge. Continue straight over the bridge, stay in the right hand lane, which connects to SW Marine Drive/Granville Street. Granville Street is a North-South connector leading to the heart of downtown. Once across the Granville Street Bridge, turn left onto Drake at the first set of lights. Turn right on Hornby Street and continue on Hornby until you reach Georgia Street. Turn left (West) on Georgia and follow it through Stanley Park and over the Lions Gate Bridge. Exit West off/under the bridge and into West Vancouver. Turn right on Taylor Way at Park Royal Shopping Centre. Follow Taylor Way half-a-mile up the hill to Highway 1 (Trans-Canada) overpass. Join Highway 1 Westbound until you reach the junction with Highway 99 (Sea-to-Sky Highway). Exit right on to Highway 99. Follow this route for just over 100 kilometers along scenic Howe Sound, past Squamish to Whistler.
Bus from Hyatt Regency Vancouver to Whistler: Buses will be available to transport Conference participants from the Hyatt Regency Vancover to Whistler. These buses will leave from the Hyatt Regency on Thursday, December 6. Tickets may be purchased in advance on the registration form on page 9 or at the Conference registration desk.

Return Transportation from Whistler: Each participant must make individual arrangements for the return from Whistler to the Vancouver International Airport. Perimeter's Whistler Express picks up at the Whistler Resort every 90 minutes beginning at 5:00 am and ending at 6:00 pm. The rate for NIPS*2001 participants is $46 (~$29 US). Reservations are required for this return service. Remember to identify yourself as a participant in the NIPS*2001 Conference to receive the special group rate. Make reservations no later than 48 hours prior to departure time to reserve your space.
Phones: 1-877-317-7788 from US and Canada (Toll Free), 604-905-0041 from Whistler, 604-266-5386 from Vancouver. Reservations:
Meeting Registration
Registration for the Main Conference includes a Monday evening welcoming banquet, continental breakfasts on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday morning, as well as a CD-ROM containing the NIPS*2001 Conference Proceedings. Workshop registration includes opening night reception, Saturday evening banquet, and two full breakfasts. Registration for tutorials and workshops is optional and requires payment of a separate fee. A continental breakfast will be provided for tutorial participants.

How to register for the conference: Before 11/28 you could register online. (Note: To protect credit card information, 128-bit encryption is being used. Internet Explorer users who don't have 128-bit encryption installed can download it from Windows Update or directly from here.)

Registration may also be done by printing and completing the registration form, which appears on page 9 of the NIPS brochure [pdf]. Mail the completed form with full payment, to: NIPS*2001, NIPS Foundation Office, c/o The Salk Institute - CNL, 10010 N. Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037 USA. You may also FAX the registration form to 1-858-587-0417. Email:

Payment: Payments will be accepted in the form of check or money order made payable to the Neural Information Processing Systems Conference or by credit card (VISA or Mastercard). Payments must be in US dollars. When registering on-line, credit card payments may be made via a secure link. Registration will not be accepted without payment. Students will be asked to provide valid student identification at the NIPS*2001 registration desk.

Cancellation Policy: Cancellations must be received in writing. Cancellations received by November 2 will receive a full refund. Cancellations between November 3 and November 26 (inclusive), will be subject to a $75 (US) cancellation fee. No refund will be given for cancellations after November 26. Financial Support
Very limited funding will be available to support the travel of young investigators, post-doctoral fellows, and graduate students to attend NIPS*2001. Awards will be based on merit, and heavily weighted by need. Travel awards will be in the amount of $400 (US) for travel from the US and within Canada and $600 (US) for participants arriving from elsewhere. Conference registration is not covered by travel awards.

Applications: Applications for travel grants must be submitted by clicking here. Deadline for submission is midnight, Friday, October 12, 2001. Late applications will not be accepted. Award recipients will be notified by email in late October. Travel award checks in US dollars will be available at the NIPS*2001 Conference registration desk. A copy of your airline ticket will be required to receive your travel award.

Volunteers: Graduate students interested in doing volunteer work at the meeting in exchange for a registration fee waiver should send email to Sid Fels Only a limited number of openings are available. Conference Proceedings
The NIPS*2001 Conference Proceedings, Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 14, edited by Thomas G. Dietterich, Sue Becker, and Zoubin Ghahramani, will be available to Conference attendees in three different formats. First, the complete Proceedings will be available on-line through the NIPS web site. Second, a CD-ROM version of the Proceedings will be mailed to each conference attendee in late Spring, 2002. Third, at their OPTION, attendees may purchase the Proceedings in a two-volume soft-cover format for the special Conference rate of $30 (US) by checking the appropriate box on the registration form. This special reduced rate is available only if the purchase is made before or during the Conference. After the Conference, copies of the hardcopy Proceedings may be obtained through: MIT Press, Five Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA 02142-1493;; MIT Press orderline at 1-800-356-0343.

Information for Authors and Presenters
Final Drafts
Every paper will be allotted up to eight pages in the Proceedings. Camera-ready copy will be due to the Publications Chair, Zoubin Ghahramani, in early January 2002. Authors of accepted papers will be informed of the precise due date at the Conference. Instructions for the final drafts are now available here. Instructions for Poster Presentation
Posters will be on view from 7:30 to 10:30 pm on Tuesday, December 4, and Wednesday, December 5, 2001. You should set up your poster during the period from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm on the day of your poster presentation. Posters will be assigned numbers (e.g. AA34). These numbers will be attached to the individual display boards in the Poster Presentation Room. You should find the display board corresponding to your number and attach your poster there. Poster pins will be provided.

Format: Each poster presentation will occupy a 4 foot x 8 foot surface area. Plan your poster to fit this space. Identify your poster near the top of the panel with title and name(s) of investigator(s). All typefaces and graphics on the poster should be large enough to be read comfortably from distances of four to five feet. A well-designed poster clearly states the main problem and contribution and guides the viewer through the presentation. Hardcopies of viewgraphs do not make a good poster. A matte finish on your poster materials will give better visibility under the glare from lights. You may want to have copies of your paper or poster, along with other material to give to viewers. Tuesday night posters must be removed by 9:00 am on Wednesday morning. Wednesday night posters must be removed by 9:00 am on Thursday morning.

Calls for Things
Call for Papers
The submission deadline has passed. This was the call for papers. Call for Workshop Proposals
The submission deadline has passed. This was the call for workshop proposals.

Other Information
The NIPS*2001 Organizing Committee: The NIPS*2001 Program Committee:
Sue Becker, McMaster University (chair); Gert Cauwenberghs, Johns Hopkins University; Bill Freeman, Mitsubishi Electric Research Lab; Thomas Hofmann, Brown University; Dan Lee, Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies; Sridhar Mahadevan, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Marina Meila, University of Washington; Klaus Mueller, GMD First, Berlin; Klaus Obermeyer, TU Berlin; Sam Roweis, Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit, UCL; John Shawe-Taylor, Royal Holloway, University of London; Josh Tenenbaum, Stanford University; Volker Tresp, Siemens, Munich; Richard Zemel, University of Toronto
Click for information on the NIPS Foundation.


Best Student Paper Award:

Evan Greensmith, Peter L. Bartlett and Jonathan Baxter
Variance Reduction Techniques for Gradient Estimates in Reinforcement Learning

Honorable Mention:

Odelia Schwartz, E.J. Chichilnisky, and Eero P. Simoncelli
Characterizing Neural Gain Control Using Spike-triggered Covariance

Honorable Mention:

Martin Wainwright, T. Jaakkola, and A. Willsky
Tree-based Reparameterization for Approximate Estimation in Loopy Graphs

Previous NIPS Conferences
Click for abstracts, papers, websites, and BibTeX from previous conferences. Contact
Send changes of address and questions about earlier proceedings volumes to
Send general queries or requests for registration material to or fax to (858) 587-0417.
Potential exhibitors should send email to hspace=3 vspace=3 width=12 height=12>

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