PRINCIPLES OF AUTONOMOUS NEURODYNAMICS 2006
A multi-disciplinary meeting exploring:
(I) Free dynamics in networks
(II) The relation of autonomous neurodynamics to neurological conditions
The third annual meeting of the Society for Autonomous Neurodynamics (SAND) will take place on July 3rd and 4th, 2006 at the Marine Biology Station, Eilat, Israel. If you would like to present work relating to these issues please send in a 250-word abstract by June 9, 2006 to:
or register online at:
Presentations should be 15 minutes in length. We encourage entries from a diversity of backgrounds and welcome both exploratory and advanced research. Sessions are meant to be fun, dynamic and will include open discussions.
A limited number of shared subsidized rooms will be made available at Inter-University Institute (IUI) - Eilat at the following rates:
Senior Researchers: 135NIS (30US$) / day
Student Researchers: 90NIS (20US$) / day
If you intend to stay at the institute please register online or send a request to: email@example.com. We will also assist with reservations at local hotels. Click here for additional information on accommodations.
Please note that July is a summer holiday for schools in Israel and accommodations fill up quickly. All rooms are subject to availability and we strongly recommend booking your flight and accommodations as soon as possible and prior to May 30th, 2006.
Eilat provides many opportunities for water sports including snorkeling and scuba diving. It is also an excellent starting point for desert exploration and visits to many historical sites. For additional diving and snorkeling gear rental information click here.
SESSION I: AUTONOMOUS SYSTEMS IN CONTEXT
Autonomous Neurodynamics describes systems that can change activity states both in response to and independently of the environment. Presentations will focus on the theoretical underpinnings and implications of autonomous dynamics in relation to neural activity, cognition, social systems and general network dynamics. The session is planned to encompass a broad array of approaches including presentations from mathematics, physics, philosophy, psychology, computational and theoretical neurosciences.
SESSION II: DYNAMICAL NEURAL SYSTEMS, NEUROLOGICAL CONDITIONS AND AUTONOMY
This session will include modeling and clinical approaches exploring neural dynamics in the context of neurological conditions and cognitive impact. At previous SAND meetings there has been a strong focus on autonomous neurodynamics and emergent epileptic activity. The hope is that the strong turnout of epilepsy researchers will continue and that the presentations will increasingly encompass other neurological and cognitive conditions. As such, we particularly encourage presentations that consider changes to neurodynamics in motor system and neurodegenerative disorders (e.g., tremor, dystonia, dyskinesia, Alzheimer's, etc.) as well as other conditions in which neural changes have an impact on volitional activity (e.g., aging, sleep, etc.).
ORGANIZING AND SCIENTIFIC COMMITTEE:
- Marija Cotic, University of Toronto, Canada (Chair)
- Peter Carlen, Toronto Western Research Institute, Canada
- Kathryn Hum, University of Toronto Epilepsy Research Program
- Stiliyan Kalitzin, Dutch Epilepsy Clinics Foundation, The Netherlands
- Elan Liss Ohayon, University of Toronto, Canada
- Piotr Suffczynski, Warsaw University, Poland
- Ping Wang, Computational Neurobiology Laboratory, Salk Institute, USA
- Yosef Yarom, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel
WHY AUTONOMOUS NEURAL SYSTEMS?
Clearly neural systems can perform incredibly complex computations but what are the features that underlie their autonomy? How do healthy embodied brains remain independent from the dynamics of the world while also being responsive? How do neural networks find balance yet avoid infinite repetition or silence?
Emerging techniques in complexity sciences and neural modeling provide the tools to explore dynamics in such systems but have yet to explain how daily computational tasks are accomplished in a continuous and autonomous fashion. These questions regarding system autonomy are often independently explored in physics, mathematics, philosophy and other fields. The issue of increasing freedom in systems is at the foundations of cognitive and social sciences.
WHY AUTONOMOUS NEURODYNAMICS AND NEUROLOGICAL CONDITIONS?
The most devastating aspect of a neurological condition is often the impact on independent activity. For example, in epilepsy the changes in neurodynamics result in an acute and often devastating loss of freedom, in which an individual's autonomy is lost and regained in very sudden and dramatic ways. The generally unpredictable nature of this transition to a state of partial or total functional neuronal impairment makes epilepsy more a dynamic pathology than a product of any single factor. Why and how does the transition occur and why and how does the epileptic state terminate? Are these transitional states a by-product of a complex neuronal system meant for autonomous operation in changing environments? Do these transitions hint at fundamental neuronal mechanisms? At the other extreme, aging is an example of a process in which changes to neurodynamics come about very gradually but can be no less devastating.
Neuroscience researchers are often focused on controlling phenomena, forgetting that an important goal is to increase individual autonomy. There are many routes to changing neural dynamics (increasing activity, stopping a seizure), the difficulty is ensuring that as a consequence the individual becomes more autonomous rather than less so. What can theories of autonomous systems tell us about treating these conditions? What can these conditions tell us about how complex systems maintain freedom in the environment?
The first meeting of the Society for Autonomous Neurodynamics was held at the University of Toronto, in August 2004. The second meeting took place in June 2005 at the Institute of Experimental Physics, Warsaw University. The meetings have included both empirical scientists and theoreticians and have proven to be cognitively intense, high-energy, autonomous events in a fun and informal atmosphere. The gatherings also mark the continuation of an international collaboration on the subject between researchers in the Netherlands and Canada including the Dutch Epilepsy Clinics Foundation (SEIN), the University of Amsterdam and the University of Toronto Epilepsy Program.