SICSA Summer School on Cognitive Computation

Date(s) - 25/08/2013 - 30/08/2013
All Day

Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Strathclyde

Cognitive computation is a new and challenging area, which promises to facilitate the development of novel brain-inspired cognitive technologies for engineering the intelligent systems of tomorrow. This SICSA sponsored Summer School on Cognitive Computation is an innovative multidisciplinary event, aiming to unite young researchers coming from a variety of backgrounds. The stimulating and relaxed atmosphere will invite a close and productive interaction between both School participants and their mentors.

The vision of this Summer School is to empower participants with an interdisciplinary understanding of some of the key underlying methodologies, concepts and techniques in cognitive computation, and their strengths and limitations (demonstrated by a range of case studies). Participants will also learn of future directions in this exciting multi-disciplinary field. Topics covered will include: perception, action, attention, learning and memory, decision making and control, language processing, communication, reasoning, pattern recognition, problem solving, and consciousness.

The five-day programme will consist of a set of tutorial-style lectures, all delivered by experts of international standing combined with hands-on practical sessions for constructing and working with the techniques covered in the course material. The initial sessions will serve as advanced introduction to cognitive computation, including practical sessions and a comprehensive review of the underlying interdisciplinary fields, specifically:

•computational modelling in neuroscience: a workshop style introduction (Dr. Bruce Graham, Stirling),
•computational intelligence and machine learning: methods, theories and tools for solving key cognition tasks such as learning and pattern recognition (Kevin Swingler, Incite Ltd., Stirling)
•cognitive augmentations of swarm intelligence & agent-based simulation: theory & applications (Dr.Jerry Swan Stirling)
•social cognition & cognitive behavioural systems: theory to applications (Dr.Alessandro Vinciarelli, Glasgow)
The subsequent sessions will cover more advanced approaches to cognitive systems research and development (including emerging theories, real-world application case studies and future challenges), including:
•informational models of ‘mind’ theory and practice: from computational models of consciousness to theories of information integration and intuitions about the mind and creation of mind-like state structures – case studies with an exploratory robot (Keynote Lecturer: Prof. Igor Aleksander, Imperial College)
•reverse engineering the brain for cognitive computation: multi-scale modelling from membranes, to circuits, systems and robots – a case study with action selection in the basal ganglia (Prof. Kevin Gurney, Sheffield)
•towards multi-modal cognitive systems: case studies on insect robotics (Prof. Barbara Webb, Edinburgh)
•novel bayesian approaches to perception, cognition and disease: case studies using theoretical models and psychophysical experiments (Dr. Peggy Series, Edinburgh)
•silicon/neuromorphic cognitive systems: building bridges to build brains (Prof. Leslie Smith, Stirling)
•towards neurobiologically inspired cognitive control of complex autonomous agents and their networked systems: case studies in next-generation intelligent transportation systems and planetary exploration rovers (Prof. Amir Hussain & Dr. Erfu Yang, Stirling)

The School is intended for PhD students and researchers working in all areas of cognitive computation, including its theoretical, applied, artificial and natural dimensions. More generally, it will appeal to researchers interested in biologically inspired computing techniques and applications, for example: machine learning, computational intelligence, cognitive and computational neuroscience, machine consciousness, neural hardware implementations and biologically inspired robotics and systems. Although the course will have substantial technical content, no prerequisites are required beyond a good background in computer science/informatics or a related subject.

Programme & Venue
The summer school will run from 10am to 5pm each day (9.30am-6pm on Tuesday, 27th, and Thursday, 29th Aug 2013). Springer’s Neuroscience Publishing Editor, Dr Martijn Roelandse, will also give a talk on “publishing interdisciplinary research in scientific journals” on the first day, Monday, 26 August, from 4pm-5pm, which will be followed by a PhD Posters Session, and Exhibition organized by Springer, from 5pm-7pm (with prize awarded to the best poster). Authors of selected posters, judged by the Keynote Guest Lecturer: Professor Igor Aleksander, will be invited to submit extended/full papers to Springer’s Cognitive Computation journal ( The full (draft) School programme is available at: )
The summer school will be held in the Division of Computing Science, School of Natural Sciences at the University of Stirling. Activities will take place in the Cottrell Building. Travel directions and maps can be found at:

£250 (no accommodation) or £450 for 4 nights accommodation (breakfast and dinner inclusive, with arrival on Mon, 26 Aug, departure on Fri, 30 Aug), £500 for 5 nights accommodation (arrival: Sun, 25 Aug, departure: Fri, 30 Aug, or arrival: Mon, 26 Aug, departure: Sat, 31 Aug), £550 for 6 nights (arrival: Sun, 25 Aug, departure: Sat, 31 Aug -no other options are available and only Sun-Fri nights are guaranteed – other options, e.g. Sat nights on 24 Aug and/or 31 Aug, only if available). Accommodation is on campus and will be in single en-suite rooms. The registration fee (without accommodation) covers the Workshop, the School dinner on Wednesday 28 Aug (at 7pm), along with lunches and teas/coffees each day. Students are responsible for their own travel arrangements and expenses to get to Stirling. SICSA students can access local support from their own Schools/Departments to support such travel SICSA will cover the £500 registration fee for PhD students in computer science departments of SICSA member Scottish universities (for a full list of SICSA Universities, see: The number of SICSA students is limited and a decision on ranking will be taken if necessary. Up to two competitive places are also being sponsored by the IEEE UKRI Computational Intelligence Society (CIS) Chapter – please indicate if you wish to be considered for these in your application.

Application Procedure and Deadlines: Round 1: April 29th, 2013. If there are places remaining, the second round of applications will close on May 20th 2013.

Please email your application consisting of the following to the Stirling Summer School Administration team and include the following details:
•First Name and Last Name, Email & Website
•Current degree, field of study and Institution (including country)
•Accommodation needed, for how many nights (minimum 4), arrival and departure dates
•Supervisor’s Name and full contact details
•Your biography (maximum 250 words), including titles of up to 3 of your relevant publications (if any)
•Description of your research activities and interests (250 words)
•Your motivation & expectations of a summer school in Cognitive Computation (250 words)
•Skills (experience with systems, languages, toolkits, research methods) (100 words)
•Title and abstract of your Poster (maximum 500 words) – optional
All applications will be used to screen potential attendees to ensure their suitability for the content of the summer school. If your application is successful, you will be contacted by email (within one week of the relevant deadline) to arrange the applicable payments.

The summer school is organised by the Division of Computing Science at the University of Stirling. The School co-ordinator is Professor Amir Hussain, E-mail:

For more information, please contact the Administration Team (E-mail: )
This school is funded by

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