Call for Applications - 2020 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 7th 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 neuromorphic research chip [1], and will learn to run high-level applications on Loihi using Nengo! 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 a recent 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, 2020

Format: A combination of tutorials and project-based work. Participants are encouraged to bring their own ideas for projects, which may focus on building neuromorphic applications, 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, BrainDrop)
  • interface Nengo with (spiking and normal) cameras and robotic systems
  • integrate machine learning methods into biologically oriented models
  • implement modern nonlinear control methods in neural models
  • 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
  • and much more…

Date and Location: June 7th to June 19th, 2020 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. We ask that you provide a short description of a possible project, and to briefly indicate how this project might make use of the tools and methods that the summer school will be covering, as listed above.

If you have any questions about the school or the application process, please contact Peter Blouw ( The school is partially supported by Applied Brain Research, Inc. We look forward to hearing from you!

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