About the Workshop

Broad Aims

The workshop is a collaborative effort organized around specific topic areas to bring the organizing principles of neural cognition into machine intelligence, and to use lessons and technology from machine intelligence to understand how brains work.


The workshop is held annually for 3 weeks generally under this schedule under the auspices of the Institute of Neuromorphic Engineering. The workshop creates a multidisciplinary setting in which collaboration enables information flow among participants. It focuses on a mixture of tutorials, lectures on cutting edge research, and hands-on project work (see videos of some projects here) on topics at the border of neuroscience and AI. The project teams are organized into themed topic areas to encourage collaboration between diverse experts. Like the Cold Spring Harbor and Woods Hole summer labs and our sister workshop the Capo Caccia Neuromorphic Workshop, the Telluride workshop brings together major scientists and technologists with young researchers for an extended period to work together on concrete projects.

Workshop Location: In Telluride, Colorado, at the Telluride Elementary School.


The workshop is hosted by the scenic mountain town of Telluride, where we work in a wing of a public schoolhouse and enjoy recreation time among the high, rugged peaks of Colorado's famous Rocky Mountains. Workshop participants are housed in shared condominiums spread over Telluride. The town is a lively and popular summer destination for its renowned music festivals and excellent outdoor sports; workshop participants organize hiking, overnight backpacking, fishing, volleyball, tennis, and mountain biking groups. A highlight of the workshop is our participation in the July 4th Independence Day town parade, at which the Neuromorphs have won many awards. There is an excellent town library and town park. The Telluride Academy offers a huge range of children's summer courses including kids' robotics camps . Everything in the town is in walking distance, including an excellent hardware store. The workshop has a hard working staff of about five PhD students for daily operation (breakfast, IT support, logistics, BBQs, etc.).


During the history of the workshop, both neuroscience and artificial intelligence have exploded in terms of technological capabilities. AI systems based on deep learning draw fundamental inspiration from the organization of elements involved in biological cognition. They have revolutionized most applications of machine intelligence in recent years. The capacity for neuroscience to collect data has also expanded enormously, enabling the potential for interdisciplinary work that applies machine learning to model neural activity in novel ways.

The drive to understand biological computation is more urgent than ever. Machine intelligence today still burns thousands of times the power consumed by brains, leading to unsolved size, weight, and power problems in embodied systems. Technology has struggled to move past supervised learning and into the domains of natural intelligence, where animals and humans can easily learn certain skills with only a few experiences, and most computers still require millions of repetitions to learn basic sensory-motor skills in a simulated environment.

Slides about the workshop

Hear about the workshop

Life at the workshop

  • Mornings: Breakfast, lectures and tutorials
  • Afternoons: Topic Area workgroup meetings and working time
  • 5-7pm: Sports/Dinner break
  • 8pm-....: Evening lecture/discussion group, project work

During the 2nd week, a group of distinguished neuroscientists invited by Terry Sejnowski presents lectures on cutting-edge neuroscience

  • End of 2nd week: Internal demo tryouts
  • Last Thursday evening: Public Lecture/Demo evening (public is invited)
  • Last Friday morning: Final workgroup presentations
  • Last Friday evening: Workshop Banquet, with award of the "Best New Neuromorph" honor

Snapshot of previous year's (2017) workshop schedule for 2nd week

Time lapse of one of the labs

Photos from previous workshops

A blog from Dr. Michael Pfeiffer (Bosch) about the 2012 workshop