NIPS*2009 Mini-symposia
December 10, 2009
Hyatt Regency Hotel, Vancouver, BC, CANADA

Deadline for receipt of proposals: 23:59 PDT on August 28 2009

Following the regular program of the Neural Information Processing Systems 2009 conference in Vancouver, BC, Canada, up to four mini-symposia will be held in parallel during the afternoon of December 10, 2009, in the Hyatt Regency, Vancouver, BC, Canada. We invite researchers interested in chairing a mini-symposium to submit proposals.

The goal of the mini-symposia is to present topical material on a single theme, well suited to the main conference audience. Controversial issues, emerging topics, open problems, and comparisons of competing approaches are not only encouraged but preferred as symposium topics. Representation of alternative viewpoints are also particularly encouraged. Possible topics for symposia include, but are not limited to:

Active Learning, Attention, Audition, Bayesian Networks, Bayesian Statistics, Benchmarking, Biophysics, Brain-Machine Interfaces, Brain Imaging, Cognitive Neuroscience, Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, Computational Complexity, Control and Reinforcement Learning, Data Mining, Game Theory, Graphical Models, Hippocampus and Memory, Human-Computer Interfaces, Independent Component Analysis, Information Theory, Kernel Methods, Large Scale Implementations and Software, Learning Theory, Mean-Field Methods, Mechanism Design, Music, Network Dynamics, Neural Coding, Neural Plasticity, Neuromorphic Systems, Nonparametric Models, On-Line Learning, Optimization, Randomized Algorithms, Robotics, Rule Extraction, Self-Organization, Signal Processing, Spike Timing, Speech, Statistical Inference, Unsupervised Learning and Information Extraction, Time Series, Vision and Scene Understanding.

Detailed descriptions of previous symposia and workshops can be found at We encourage neuroscience-related proposals, and are especially interested in those bridging areas of neuroscience and machine learning. Selected mini-symposia may be invited to submit proceedings for publication in the post-NIPS workshops monographs series published by the MIT Press.


Format: The mini-symposia will run in parallel during the afternoon of December 10, after the end of the main conference. There will be two 70 minute sessions, with a 20 minute coffee break between them. Organisers may propose to divide these sessions as they wish. We recommend programmes of 4 to 6 speakers, with time reserved for a brief introduction to the topic and for questions. Proposed symposia that present multiple points of view will be favoured over those that simply showcase one line of work.

Responsibilities: Mini-symposium organizers have several responsibilities, including:

  • Arranging and coordinating the symposium programme.
  • Providing any introductory or tutorial material needed to make the topic accessible to all NIPS attendees
  • Moderating the discussion.
  • Writing a brief summary and/or coordinating submitted material for post-conference electronic dissemination.

Submission instructions.

Interested parties must submit a proposal for a workshop via email to the address below by August 28, 2009. Proposals should include a title and description of what the mini-symposium is to address and accomplish, motivate why the topic is of interest and why it should be discussed, and specify the targeted group of participants. It should include a brief CV of the prospective mini-symposium chair(s) with a list of publications to establish scholarship in the field. With regard to format and programme:

  • For mini-symposia, the majority of the proposed speakers must have confirmed their attendance. If the proposal is accepted, changes to the program would need to be approved by the symposia chairs.

We encourage mini-symposia that build, continue, or arise from one or more symposia and workshops from previous years. Please mention any such connections.

NIPS does not provide travel funding for mini-symposium speakers. In the past, some workshops have sought and received funding from external sources to bring in outside speakers. In any case, the organizers of each accepted mini-symposium can name two individuals to receive free registration to either the main conference or workshop program.

Submissions should include the name, address, email address, phone and fax numbers for all organizers. If there is more than one organizer, please designate one organizer as the primary contact.

Proposals or questions should be emailed as plain text to (please do not use attachments, Word, postscript, html, or pdf files)

Richard Zemel (University of Toronto)
Dale Schuurmans (University of Alberta)
Yoshua Bengio (University of Montreal)
NIPS*2009 Symposia Co-Chairs