Call for Applications - 2019 Nengo Summer School

[All details about this school can be found online at]

The Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience at the University of Waterloo is excited to announce our 6th annual Nengo summer school on large-scale brain modelling and neuromorphic computing. This two-week school will teach participants to use the Nengo simulation package to build state-of-the-art cognitive and neural models to run both in simulation and on neuromorphic hardware. Summer school participants will be given on-site access to Loihi, Intel’s new neuromorphic research chip [1], and will learn to run high-level applications on Loihi using Nengo! Other neuromorphic devices likely to be available at the summer school include Stanford’s mixed digital/analog chip Braindrop, and SpiNNaker.

More generally, Nengo provides users with a versatile and powerful environment for designing cognitive and neural systems, and has been used to build what is currently the world’s largest functional brain model, Spaun [2], which includes spiking deep learning, reinforcement learning, adaptive motor control, and cognitive control networks.

For a look at last year’s summer school, check out this short video:

We welcome applications from all interested graduate students, postdocs, professors, and industry professionals with a relevant background.

[1] Davies, et al. (2018). Loihi: A neuromorphic manycore processor with on-chip learning. IEEE Micro. Vol. 38 no. 1 pp. 82-99. []

[2] Eliasmith, C., Stewart T. C., Choo X., Bekolay T., DeWolf T., Tang Y., Rasmussen, D. (2012). A large-scale model of the functioning brain. Science. Vol. 338 no. 6111 pp. 1202-1205. DOI: 10.1126/science.1225266. []

Application Deadline: February 15, 2019

Format: A combination of tutorials and project-based work. Participants are encouraged to bring their own ideas for projects, which may focus on testing hypotheses, modeling neural or cognitive data, implementing specific behavioural functions with neurons, expanding past models, or providing a proof-of-concept of various neural mechanisms. Hands-on tutorials, work on individual or group projects, and talks from invited faculty members will make up the bulk of day-to-day activities. A project demonstration event will be held on the last day of the school, with prizes for strong projects!

Participants will have the opportunity to learn how to:

  • interface Nengo with various kinds of neuromorphic hardware (e.g. Loihi, SpiNNaker)
  • build perceptual, motor, and sophisticated cognitive models using spiking neurons
  • model anatomical, electrophysiological, cognitive, and behavioural data
  • use a variety of single cell models within a large-scale model
  • integrate machine learning methods into biologically oriented models
  • interface Nengo with cameras and robotic systems
  • implement modern nonlinear control methods in neural models
  • and much more…

Date and Location: June 9th to June 21st, 2019 at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

Applications: Please visit, where you can find more information regarding costs, travel, lodging, along with an application form listing required materials.

If you have any questions about the school or the application process, please contact Peter Blouw ( The school is also partly supported by ONR and ABR, Inc. We look forward to hearing from you!