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Quebec City, Canada
August 20-22, 2007

  SAND 2007 - Saguenay, Quebec

Call For Presentations:



New! IJNS call for papers. (pdf)

SAND 2007 Poster (pdf)

A multi-disciplinary meeting exploring free dynamics in networks and the relation of autonomous neurodynamics to neurological conditions.  
The 4th annual meeting of the Society for Autonomous Neurodynamics (SAND) will take place on August 20th, 21st and 22nd at the Centre de recherche Université Laval Robert-Giffard (CRULRG), Université Laval, Québec, Canada.

We are soliciting participants from a range of fields interested in Autonomous Neurodynamics. If you would like to present work relating to these topics please send in a 250-word abstract by July 16th, 2007 to:

If you would like a paper to be considered for inclusion in the special issue of the International Journal of Neurosystems, please see the description and additional instructions. Full papers should be sent by July 16th. Presentations not included in the IJNS volume, may be included in future collections.

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.

Conference Scope
Québec City and Activities
Accessibility and Child Care
Conference Topics
Organizing and Scientific Committee
Meeting Sponsors
Why Autonomous Neural Systems?
Why Autonomous Neurodynamics and Neurological Conditions?
Meeting Background


Autonomous Neurodynamics describes interactive systems that can change activity 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. Sessions may encompass a broad array of approaches including presentationsfrom mathematics, physics, philosophy, psychology, computational and theoretical neurosciences.


A limited number of rooms will be made available at the residences of Université Laval, Québec at the following rates:

Student Rate: $37 CAD (~31 US$) per night, including breakfast
Non-Student Rate: $42 CAD (~36 US$) per night, including breakfast

If you intend to stay at the university, please register for the conference online. After completing the conference registration you will be directed to the Université Laval residences reservation web page.

Click here for additional information on accommodations.


Québec City, one of the oldest cities in North America, is infused with French-Canadian history and culture. It is a UNESCO world heritage site known for its architecture, fine dining and European charm. Québec City is surrounded by mountains, lakes, and the St. Lawrence River, providing many opportunities for nautical activities such as kayaking, canoeing, white water river rafting and whale watching. A post-conference outdoor adventure is being planned and additional excursion information will be made available on this page as it becomes availaible.


All presentations will take place in wheelchair accessible venues. We will also assist in booking accessible accommodations and in child care arrangements.


SAND conference presentations typically encompass a wide range of themes that have included:

  • Physiology, Sensorimotor Systems & Behavior
  • Neuroanatomy
  • Neurogenetics and Pathobiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Hormones and Reproduction
  • Nutrition and Biochemistry
  • Personal Narratives
  • Gender and Social Sciences
  • Neurology and Clinical Perspectives
  • Neuropsychoanalysis
  • Dynamical Systems
  • Embodied Modeling / Autonomous Agents
  • Nonlinear Analysis
  • Computation and Information Processing
  • Network Theory
  • The Role of Noise / Stochasticity / Randomness

  • In addition to these topics we welcome novel approaches and interdisciplinary research that can synthesize findings from various fields. Presentations may also consider the implications of research findings on ethical theory, autonomy and health. We particularly encourage presentations that examine changes in neurodynamics in neurological conditions such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s that can have a tremendous impact on an individual’s autonomy and quality of life. Investigations may also include more common conditions in which changes in neural dynamics impact volitional activity such as sleep.


    • Kathryn Hum, University of Toronto Epilepsy Research Program (Chair)
    • Peter Carlen, Toronto Western Research Institute, Canada
    • Marija Cotic, University of Toronto, Canada
    • Stiliyan Kalitzin, Dutch Epilepsy Clinics Foundation, The Netherlands
    • Elan Liss Ohayon, University of Toronto, Canada
    • Piotr Suffczynski, Warsaw University, Poland
    • Igor Timofeev, Université Laval CRULRG, Canada
    • Ping Wang, Computational Neurobiology Laboratory, Salk Institute, USA



    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.


    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 dynamical system condition 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 and the third meeting, July 2006, was held at the Marine Biology Station, Eilat. The meetings have included empirical scientists, theoreticians and personal reports. They 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.

    Please send comments to:
    Last modified: Monday April 16, 2007
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