Thursday, June 13, 2013


One critical aspect of being active in the Brain Computer Interface community is to attend the various relevant conferences in order to present your work and stay on top of new trends and developments. These are also a great opportunity to network and to create collaborations and share ideas.

I just came back from a great conference in Monterey, California. It was the 5th International Brain Computer Interface Meeting which was held at the Asilomar Conference Ground right next to the ocean. Its a bit of an isolated meeting spot and it was a haul to get there, but there's definitely something about the quiet and seclusion that facilitates a good meeting. There are only so many conferences you can attend at a Raddison in Cincinnati before part of your soul dies.

Anyways, I thought it might be useful to present a list of all the conferences one has to attend to stay relevant in the BCI community. Here's what I came up with. Meetings highlighted in green are ones I've attended, and ones in orange are ones I've sent students to.

NIH Neural Interfaces Conference
Held on even years - this meeting used to be an annual workshop on site at NIH in Bethesda, MD until 2006. Having outgrown its original venue, the meeting now rotates locations. It ends to be single-track (all attendees in the same room at the same time) and focuses on various aspects of getting reliable functional connections to neural tissue. The most recent meetings have been:

  • 2012 Salt Lake City, UT
  • 2010 Long Beach, CA
  • 2008 Cleveland, OH
This meeting is held on odd years and covers much of the same ground as the Neural Interfaces conference. It is also typically single-track.
  • 2013 San Diego, CA
  • 2011 Cancun, Mexico
  • 2009 Antalya, Turkey
  • 2007 Kohala Coast, HI
  • 2005 Washington, DC
  • 2003 Capri, Italy
Perhaps the most informal of all meetings, this one really seems to have a sense of getting people together to just talk and exchange ideas and vision for the field. There is no official society or backing for this group - just a bunch of interested scientists and engineers hanging out to talk shop. Its also nice because it attracts a different group of scientists than the previous two meetings, with more focus on clinical and patient applications. The meeting is so informal that they don't even have a regular schedule - last week we actually voted on whether to wait two or three years until the next meeting!
  • 2013 Asilomar, CA
  • 2010 Asilomar, CA
  • 2005 Rensselaerville, NY
  • 2002 Rensselaerville, NY
  • 1999 Rensselaerville, NY
This is a massive annual biomedical engineering conference. There are multiple tracks and it covers practically every topic under the sun. Submissions are typically four page papers.
  • 2013 Osaka, Japan
  • 2012 San Diego, CA
  • 2011 Boston, MA
  • 2010 Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • 2009 Minneapolis, MN
  • 2008 Vancouver, Canada
  • 2007 Lyon, France
  • 2006 New York, NY
  • 2005 Shanghai, China
  • 2004 San Francisco, CA
  • 2003 Cancun, Mexico
  • 2002 Houston, TX
  • 2001 Istanbul, Turkey
  • 2000 Chicago, IL
  • 1999 Atlanta, GA
This is another massive meeting that attracts people from across the spectrum. It tends to be a little more engineering oriented than EMBS, which tends to trend more towards physiology. Submissions are typically 1 page papers.
  • 2013 Seattle, WA
  • 2012 Atlanta, GA
  • 2011 Hartford, CT
  • 2010 Austin, TX
  • 2009 Pittsburgh, PA
  • 2008 St. Louis, IL
  • 2007 Los Angeles, CA
  • 2006 Chicago, IL
  • 2005 Baltimore, MD
  • 2004 Philadelphia, PA
  • 2003 Nashville, TN
  • 2002 Houston, TX
  • 2001 Durham, NC
  • 2000 Seattle, WA
  • 1999 Atlanta, GA
Society for Neuroscience
This is the big daddy conference - 40,000 attendees annually. It is a great conference and a total zoo. I've only attended two or three times I believe. Its way more about biology and physiology than is suitable for a mere engineer such as myself :)
  • 2013 San Diego, CA
  • 2012 New Orleans, LA
  • 2011 Washington, DC
  • 2010 San Diego, CA
  • 2009 Chicago, IL
  • 2008 Washington, DC
  • 2007 San Diego, CA
  • 2006 Atlanta, GA
  • 2005 Washington, DC
  • 2004 San Diego, CA
  • 2003 New Orleans, LA
  • 2002 Orlando, Florida
  • 2001 San Diego, CA
  • 2000 New Orleans, LA
  • 1999 Miami Beach, FL
There are also a handful of ad hoc conferences that come up from time to time. Many are invitation only. Figuring out how and when and where to spend one's travel dollars is serious work!

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