Wednesday, April 2, 2014

[Comp-neuro] Bernstein Workshop "Characterizing Natural Scenes": Call for Abstracts/Contributed Talks

Bernstein workshop: Characterizing Natural Scenes: Retinal Coding and Statistical Theory

Call for Abstracts/Contributed Talks

You are invited to participate in the pre-conference Bernstein workshop "Characterizing Natural Scenes: Retinal Coding and Statistical Theory", taking place in in Göttingen, Germany, on September 2-3, 2014. Please find the preliminary schedule on workshop URL:

The workshop chairs will select a couple of abstracts for short oral presentation at the workshop. All the abstracts will be presented as posters during the Bernstein conference on September 3-4. However, the workshop could hold a separate poster session based on the number and quality of abstracts that we receive.

To participate in the workshop please submit the abstract (the extended version is preferred) as a PDF attachment via email to Jian Liu ( or Arno Onken ( The deadline for submission is August 1.


Please refer to the Bernstein Conference 2014 for registration and venue information.


How does the retina process natural visual inputs? What role do the many types of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) play in this? Experiments with specific artificial stimuli have suggested that individual types of RGCs may have specific functional roles in visual processing, yet it is not clear how these simplified functional investigations relate to the processing of natural images and movies. An important ingredient for future analysis will be a better understanding of the complex statistical properties of natural scenes, as revealed by theoreticians.

The relationship between natural visual statistics and retinal coding provides a promising direction for improving our understanding of the visual system. But we still lack a systematic framework for understanding the underlying mechanisms of how relevant features of natural scenes are encoded by the retina.

In this workshop, we expect mutual benefits for both natural scene statistics and retinal coding. We will bring together experimentalists and theoreticians in order to highlight recent progress, encourage exchange of insights, and stimulate new ideas for future work with the following core questions:

1) How can we develop useful descriptions of the statistics of natural scenes that are relevant for retinal coding?

2) How can we characterize the functional roles of different RGC types in processing natural scenes?

3) Which coding strategies are present at the level of RGC populations?

4) How can we unify the acquired knowledge of natural scenes and neural data to develop better tools for analysis?


* Vijay Balasubramanian (University of Pennsylvania)

* Philipp Berens (BCCN, Tübingen)

* Thomas Euler (University of Tübingen)

* Felix Franke (ETH Zurich)

* Olivier Marre (Vision Institute, Paris)

* Aman Saleem (University College London)

* Maneesh Sahani (University College London)

* Rava A. da Silveira (ENS, Paris)

We are looking forward to seeing you in Göttingen.

Workshop organizers:

Jian Liu (University Medical Center Göttingen and BCCN Göttingen)

Arno Onken (Center for Neuroscience and Cognitive Systems, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia Rovereto)

Jian K. Liu, Ph.D. Mathematics
Department of Ophthalmology
University Medical Center Goettingen
Waldweg 33, 37073 Goettingen
Phone: +49 (0)551 39-91248
Fax: +49 (0)551 39-13541

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