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Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) -- Natural and Synthetic NIPS*2009 Post-Conference Workshops -- December 11 and 12, 2009 Whistler Resort & Spa and Westin Hilton, BC, CANADA

Following the regular program of the Neural Information Processing Systems 2009 conference in Vancouver, BC, Canada, workshops on a variety of current topics in neural information processing will be held on December 11 and 12, 2009, in Whistler, BC, Canada. We invite researchers interested in chairing one of these workshops to submit proposals for workshops. The goal of the workshops is to provide an informal forum for researchers to discuss important research questions and challenges. Controversial issues, open problems, and comparisons of competing approaches are not only encouraged but preferred as workshop topics. Representation of alternative viewpoints and panel-style discussions are also particularly encouraged. Workshop topics 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, Genetic/Evolutionary Algorithms, Graphical Models, Hippocampus and Memory, Human-Computer Interfaces, Implementations, Kernel Methods, Mean-Field Methods, Music, Network Dynamics, Neural Coding, Neural Plasticity, Neuromorphic Systems, On-Line Learning, Optimization, Perceptual Learning, Robotics, Rule Extraction, Self-Organization, Signal Processing, Spike Timing, Speech, Supervised/Unsupervised Learning, Time Series, Topological Maps, and Vision.

Detailed descriptions of previous workshops may be found at:

There will be six hours of workshop meetings per day, split into morning and afternoon sessions, with free time between the sessions for ongoing individual exchange or outdoor activities. Selected workshops may be invited to submit proceedings for publication in the post-NIPS workshops monographs series published by the MIT Press. Workshop organizers have several responsibilities, including:

  • Coordinating workshop participation and content, including arranging short informal presentations by experts, arranging for expert commentators to sit on discussion panels, formulating discussion topics, etc.
  • Moderating the discussion, and reporting its findings and conclusions to the group during the evening plenary sessions.
  • 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 July 17, 2009 (note that this deadline is earlier than previous years, in order to allow more time to prepare the workshop programs).

Proposals should include a title, description of what the workshop is to address and accomplish, proposed workshop length (1 or 2 days), planned format (e.g., lectures, group discussions, panel discussion, combinations of the above, etc.), and proposed speakers. Names of potential invitees should be given where possible. Preference will be given to workshops that reserve a significant portion of time for open discussion or panel discussion, as opposed to a pure "mini-conference" format. An example format is:

  • Tutorial lecture providing background and introducing terminology relevant to the topic.
  • Discussion or panel presentation.
  • Short talks or panels alternating with discussion and question/answer sessions.
  • General discussion and wrap-up.

We suggest that organizers allocate at least 50% of the workshop schedule to questions, discussion, and breaks. Past experience suggests that workshops otherwise degrade into mini-conferences as talks begin to run over. For the same reason, we strongly recommend that each workshop include no more than 12 talks per day.

The proposal should motivate why the topic is of interest, why it should be discussed, and the targeted group of participants. It should include a brief résumé of the prospective workshop chair with a list of publications to establish scholarship in the field. We encourage workshops that build, continue, or arise from one or more workshops from previous years. Please mention any such connections.

NIPS does not provide travel funding for workshop 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 workshop can name two individuals to receive free registration for the 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) NIPS*2009 Workshops Chair PROPOSALS MUST BE RECEIVED BY JULY 17, 2009