The CapoCaccia Workshops toward Neuromorphic Intelligence

Concept of the workshop

The common goal of the Telluride and Capo Caccia (CC) workshops is to promote the neuromorphic approach to designing technologies, establish an international community, and to encourage collaboration amongst small groups, in order to achieve the kind of technical advances which could only otherwise happen in well-funded industrial labs. See the History of the Workshops.

Now, with Telluride funded for over 25 years (CC running for 12 years) and "neuromorphic" nearly a household word (and everyone else claiming they have invented it...)  we can claim some success in achieving the original workshop goals. Change is good, but it must be considered carefully against the ongoing and long-term progress of the central goal — to bootstrap the neuromorphic approach to the design and implementation of intelligent systems.

The building of an international collaborative community has been the cornerstone of our progress. We have shared designs, hardware, interfaces, software, and importantly ideas freely, and it appears to everyone's benefit. We have also been able to move a little upward from the necessary circuit-level obsessions, to more system level (behavioral) considerations. Meanwhile the large scale digitally implemented circuit approaches to neuromorphic function, such as Deep Learning, are converging toward the same behavioral questions. All of these efforts take inspiration and relevant detail from Biology. But they are clearly aimed at developing technologies. They do not pretend to explain biological intelligence per se. However, of course, by working within the constraints of technology, one comes better to understand the biology.

The CCNW has an open format, whose intention is to encourage creativity and exploration of ideas and projects in a relaxed and intellectually open environment. Although there is a skeleton program that sets a default route through the two weeks, ad hoc deviations from or elaborations of this basic program are encouraged. Discussion groups and projects arise dynamically. There are no formal lectures. Instead, the morning consist of two 1.5 hr discussion sessions in which a few discussants will make short contributions to the topics in order to ignite more general interaction. Although the sessions of the skeleton program have assigned moderators and discussants, these persons should also be seen as defaults. Whiteboards and overhead tablets are available for drawings. Formal presentations with prepared media (such as Powerpoint slides) are strictly forbidden. The daily program includes a late afternoon sports break, and happy hour.

The workshop is held in a well-appointed full-board hotel with excellent Italian buffet food, and a delightful bar. The hotel has a private beach, and is located on a wooded area on the northern shore of the gulf of Alghero, a few miles away from the Capo Caccia headland.