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15th Neural Computation and Psychology Workshop
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NCPW15 – August 8-9, 2016 – Philadelphia, PA, USA
Contemporary Neural Network Models:  Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Cognition

Funded by the W. K. & K. W. Estes Fund, Google DeepMind, and the Rumelhart Emergent Cognitive Functions Fund
Organized by: Jay McClelland, Stefan Frank & Daniel Mirman

500-Word Abstracts and Applications to Attend Due: April 15
Notification of Acceptance and Travel Awards: May 15

We are pleased to announce a workshop on Contemporary Neural Network Models, bringing the latest developments in Deep Neural Networks, Deep Reinforcement Learning Networks, and Recurrent Neural Networks with Long-Short-Term Memory Units into contact with contemporary cognitive science and cognitive neuroscience research.  Plenary speakers are established and emerging experts in the development of deep neural network models of perception, action and cognition, and include authors of Google DeepMind’s projects achieving human-level performance in Atari games and Go and in creating innovative Cognitive architectures such as the Neural Turing Machine. The workshop will take place on Aug 8-9, 2016 in Philadelphia – in North America for the first time after 14 previous meetings in Europe.

The Workshop has both a research dissemination and tutorial purpose. Research submissions are welcome based on a 500-word abstract for spoken and poster presentations in any area of computational research that applies neural network models or related approaches to understanding human cognition.  To foster exchange of ideas, presentation of recently published work or work also submitted elsewhere is welcome, and there will be a publication option for new work.  Both junior and senior scientists interested in learning more about the latest developments are encouraged to attend (space is limited and application is required) with or without making a presentation. Thanks to generous support, costs will be low and travel awards will encourage participation by a diverse population of participants with relevant goals.  The conference website provides full details and instructions for those interested in participating.  Abstracts and applications to attend are due April 15 and notification of acceptance and travel awards will be made by May 15.

Keynote Presentations
Nikolaus Kriegeskorte, MRC-CBU Cambridge, UK. Deep Convolutional Nets and Biological Object Vision.
Marco Zorzi, University of Padova. Unsupervised Deep Learning Models of Perception and Cognition: Space, Numbers, Words
Andrew Saxe, Harvard University.  A Theory of the Dynamics of Deep Learning: Consequences for Perceptual Learning and Semantic Development
Greg Wayne, Google DeepMind.  Integrating Neural and Symbolic Computation: The Neural Turing Machine and Beyond
Timothy Lillicrap, Google DeepMind. Deep Reinforcement Learning: Algorithms and Applications from Reaching and Grasping to Winning at Go
Linda Smith, Indiana University. What’s Deep about Deep Learning? What Can it Tell us About the Mind?

Workshop Structure
Each of the two days of the NCPW workshop will include three 75 minute sessions led by invited speakers. The first five of these sessions will each focus on a different aspect or topic in contemporary neural network research, and each will be led by a different expert.  The final session will begin with a commentary by a senior Cognitive Scientist (Linda Smith) followed by a panel discussion with the other five speakers.  During lunch each day, the day’s speakers will each hold a smaller discussion session with a subset of the workshop participants, and materials will be circulated in advance.   Two 1.5-hour sessions each day will be devoted to submitted presentations selected for their scientific value and the extent to which they advance the use of neural network architectures, tools, and concepts in both computational and cognitive (neuro)science domains.   A poster session at the end of the first day will allow all of the participants an opportunity to present and obtain feedback from the invited speakers, and to learn from and network with each other.  A conference dinner on the first evening and a reception on the second evening will allow for informal interactions. 

NCPW15 will be complemented by a separate day-long tutorial on Wednesday, August 10, as part of the Cognitive Science Society meeting also in Philadelphia (pending acceptance by the Program Committee). This day-long event will provide additional tutorial presentations, followed by in depth how-to sessions associated with the actual implementation and effective practical mastery of deep learning networks for cognitive science research.

Participants, Publication, Travel Awards, Costs, and Logistics
The target population is PhD students, post-doctoral fellows, and more advanced researchers at any level.  Both contributing researchers and non-presenting attendees are welcome to apply.  Contributing researchers will be selected based on a 500-word submitted research abstract, according to past policies of NCPW.  As noted above, presentation of recently published work or work also submitted elsewhere are welcome.  Participants will be invited to contribute otherwise unpublished work to a planned Frontiers in Cognitive Science Research Topic on contemporary neural network models. 

Selection of non-presenting attendees will be based on the relevance of the workshop to the attendee’s goals as described in a short essay as well as a CV and, for junior scientist, a mentor’s letter of support. Both trainees and contributing researchers not selected for oral presentations have the option to present a poster in the poster session.  A total of 25 travel support awards ($250 domestic/$750 international) are available both for trainees and for contributing researchers to partially defray costs of attendance; support will be awarded based on the criteria above as well as need with attention to encouraging diversity.  There is no registration fee for accepted participants.  A low-price accommodation option ($50/night) will be available. 

Application Process and Venue:  More detailed information on the application process and the venue are available at the conference website.  The deadline for presentation abstract submissions and for applications to attend will be April 15, 2016, and notification of acceptance and travel awards for trainees and participating researchers will be on May 15, 2016.

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Phone: +1 608-441-1070 • Fax: +1 608-443-2474 • Email:

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