AREADNE 2008 Logo   AREADNE 2008
Research in Encoding And Decoding of
Neural Ensembles

Nomikos Conference Centre
Santorini, Greece
26-29 June 2008
  AREADNE Brain Maze Logo


AREADNE 2008 was another smashing succes. This part of the web site now holds the archival material from the conference. Thanks to everyone who helped make our second meeting so fantastic!

The final scientific program is available as a PDF download (9 MB) from

» Note that the file can take upwards of 30 seconds to download. «

Please cite the program as: J. S. Pezaris and N. G. Hatsopoulos (editors) Proceedings of AREADNE 2008, Santorini, Greece, 26-29 June 2008, published by The AREADNE Foundation, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA,

Photos from the conference can be seen here.

Information on upcoming AREADNE conferences can be found at

Site Overview

Introduction and Overview (scroll down)
Important Dates
Call for Abstracts
Poster Information
Registration (currently disabled)
Transportation Information
Hotel Information
Shared Housing Listings
Practical Information
Restaurant Information
Additional Activities
Archives of Previous Meetings
Contact the Conference Organizers


One of the current fundamental problems in neuroscience is to understand how the activation of large populations of neurons gives rise to the higher order functions of the brain including learning, memory, cognition, perception, action and ultimately conscious awareness. Electrophysiological recordings in behaving animals over the past forty years have revealed considerable information about what the firing patterns of single neurons encode in isolation, but it remains largely a mystery how collections of neurons interact to perform these functions.

Fence White Block Recent technological advances have for the first time provided a glimpse into the global functioning of the brain. These technologies include functional magnetic resonance imaging, optical imaging methods including intrinsic, voltage-sensitive dye, and two-photon imaging, high-density electroencephalography and magnetoencephalography, and multi-microelectrode array electrophysiology. These technologies have expanded our knowledge of brain functioning beyond the single neuron level.

At the same time, our understanding of how neuronal ensembles carry information has allowed the development of brain-machine interfaces (BMI) to enhance the capabilities of patients with sensory and motor deficits. Knowledge of how neuronal ensembles encode sensory stimuli has made it possible to develop perceptual BMIs for the hearing and visually impaired. Likewise, research in how neuronal ensembles decode motor intentions has resulted in motor BMIs by which people with severe motor disabilities can control external devices.

Conference Mission Statement

Centre Chairs There are three major goals of this conference. First and foremost, this conference is intended to bring scientific leaders from around the world to present their recent findings on the functioning of neuronal ensembles. Second, the meeting will provide an informal yet spectacular setting on Santorini in which attendees can discuss and share ideas outside of the presentations at the conference center. Third, this conference continues our long term project to form a systems neuroscience research institute within Greece to conduct state-of-the-art research, offer meetings and courses, and provide a center for visiting scientists from around the world to interact with Greek researchers and students.

Conference Organization

The conference will take place on the Greek island of Santorini from Thursday through Sunday, June 26-29, 2008, with a welcoming reception the evening before the conference begins (that is, the evening of June 25). The formal portion of the conference will take place at the Nomikos Conference Centre in the town of Fira. The conference will be single-track. Morning talks with a half-hour coffee break will be followed by a provided lunch. After the long afternoon break, we will reconvene for coffee, early evening talks and poster presentations before a late dinner. Although attendees are welcome from around the world, speakers have been selected primarily from the United States and Europe. As we expect to be oversubscribed this year, attendees are highly encouraged to submit proposals for poster presentations, as poster presenters will be given registration priority.

Submission of Poster Proposals

Abstract submission is now closed.

We anticipate being oversubscribed this year, and so strongly encourage anyone who is considering attending the conference to submit a poster proposal.

Registration and Fees

White Stairs Conference fees are USD 300 for students at any point, USD 450 for post-docs and faculty members before April 16 and USD 550 after. Space permitting, on-site registration will be USD 650. Fees include coffee breaks, lunches, a welcoming reception, an evening banquet, and an optional excursion. Attendance will be strictly limited by the capacity of the conference center to 120 attendees, including the speakers and organizers. Registration is separate from proposal submission. We encourage potential participants to submit poster abstracts as early as possible.

We have experienced a very strong interest from the community and, as of 1 May 2008, have filled all available spots for non-presenters. We have begun a waiting list for potential attendees who are not presenters on submitted abstracts.

Abstract presenters who have not yet registered will still have one spot available per abstract, but must register by 19 May to prevent their submission from being automatically withdrawn. Multiple email messages have been sent to the corresponding authors with this information.

Our refund policy in the event you have registered but will be unable to attend is that a full refund of the registration fees will be given until one month before the conference on 26 May; a 50% refund will be given from then until two weeks before the conference on 12 June; and after 12 June no refund will be given.

Important Dates

2008-01-14  Abstract Submissions open
2008-03-14  Abstract Submissions close
2008-04-04  Abstract Notifications sent
2008-04-11  Registration opens
2008-04-18  Registration fees increase from Early to Regular
2008-05-16  Registration closes, fees increase from Regular to On-Site
2008-06-25  Conference Welcome Reception (7pm)
2008-06-26  Conference opens (9am)
2008-06-29  Conference closes (8pm)
2008-06-29  Conference Banquet Dinner (9pm)


Many hotels are available in and around Fira and Firostefani, from inexpensive C class to luxury caldera-view cave suites. The conference center is located 15 minutes by foot from the center of Fira, and a similar distance from much of Firostefani. While it is possible to stay in the town of Oia, this requires driving to and from the conference center each day. We hope that conference attendees, like the organizing committee, will stay in hotels that are walking distance from the Centre. Plan to arrive on Wednesday, June 25, and depart Monday, June 30. We suggest booking your hotel room as early as possible.


Wooden Shutters Daily coffee breaks, lunches, and a welcoming reception will be provided at the conference center. A gala banquet is to be held at a local restaurant on the final day of the conference. Costs for these meals will be included in the conference fee for participants; additional tickets will be available to bring guests to the welcoming reception and gala banquet.

Breakfasts are typically included in hotel rates, or available with hotel reservations for a nominal charge. Although evening meals will not be provided by the conference (except the banquet), the island has a wide selection of restaurants, and we anticipate making loosely organized excursions to a different restaurant each evening. Some restaurant recommendations are available.

Activities on the island

In addition to sweeping vistas, Santorini boasts excellent nightlife, a respectable wine industry, beaches with white, black, or red sand, excavations of ancient civilizations, and some of the best sunsets anywhere. More information can be found in various travel guides, or on the Web. Good places to start are publications like The Lonely Planet and The Rough Guide guides for Greece, and web sites like Greek Travel Santorini, Santorini Island, and Travel to Santorini.

We are planning optional guided excursions to the archaeological site of Akrotiri and to the volcano island and sulfur springs at the center of the caldera. These events may not be able to accommodate everyone. Additional suggested activities are available.


CINNR Logo The University of Chicago and Illinois Institute of Technology's Center for Integrative Neuroscience and Neuroengineering Research (CINNR) is sponsoring this conference with the help of a generous gift from Dr. and Mrs. George Hatsopoulos.


Air transportation to Athens International Airport (ATH) is available on a regularly scheduled basis through nearly all of the major international airlines, and by many of the newer discount companies. Air transport from Athens to Santorini (JTR) takes less than an hour and is available multiple times per day. It is normally possible to arrange flight schedules so that overnight stays in Athens are not required when connecting to and from Santorini.

Sea passage from Athens to Santorini can be a relaxing experience and is recommended for the awe-inspiring approach to the port at the base of the immense caldera cliffs. Ferries for Santorini leave from the port of Piraeus, approximately one hour's taxi drive away from the Athens airport. Rail and bus transportation is also available from the airport to the ferries but takes somewhat longer. There are two broad classes of boats, the canonical, or slow boats, and the fast, or highspeed, boats. Pricing goes according to boat speed and ticket class.

Getting around on the island can be done by bus and taxi. Cars and scooters are readily available for hire. The conference center is located in the town of Fira, and is walking distance to many hotels and restaurants, so having a motorized vehicle is not required.

More transportation information is available here.

Visa Requirements

European citizens have free Schengen access to Greece. United States citizens traveling on regular passports (excluding diplomatic and governmental passports) do not require visas for visits shorter than 90 days. Citizens of other countries will need to contact their home governments to determine visa requirements.

Preliminary Schedule

Magenta White Here is the preliminary schedule for the four-day conference, which follows the Greek lifestyle of having a long lunch, afternoons free for siestas or swimming, and a late dinner. To encourage participants to stay for the entire event, the exact speaker schedule will not be available until the conference, even to the speakers. Please take the schedule below as a guideline, as the details for each day may change as arrangements are finalized.

Attendees should plan to arrive on Santorini on Wednesday, 25 June 2008, and depart the following Monday.

19:00-21:00   welcome reception (wine and cheese) and registration

08:00-08:30   registration
08:30-12:30   lectures and coffee break
12:30-14:00   lunch
17:00-21:30   coffee, lectures and poster session

09:00-12:30   lectures and coffee break
12:30-14:00   lunch
17:00-21:30   coffee, lectures and poster session

09:00-13:00   optional archaeological and geological excursions
17:00-21:30   coffee, lectures and poster session

09:00-12:30   lectures and coffee break
12:30-14:00   lunch
17:00-19:30   coffee and lectures
21:00-24:00   banquet reception (full dinner)

Confirmed Speakers

Our speaker list includes many luminaries from around the world in the field of Computational Neuroscience. We hope that you will enjoy hearing them speak and will participate with them in the after-talk discussions.

Larry Abbott   Columbia University
Dora E. Angelaki   Washington University in St. Louis
John A. Dani   Baylor College of Medicine
John Donoghue   Brown University
Jennifer M. Groh   Duke University
Naoum Issa   University of Chicago
George K. Kostopoulos   University of Patras
Lynne Kiorpes   New York University
Gilles Laurent   California Institute of Technology
Michelle A. Basso   University of Wisconsin
Jason MacLean   University of Chicago
Andronike Makris   Hellenic Education and Research Center
Lee E. Miller   Northwestern University
J. Anthony Movshon   New York University
William Newsome   HHMI and Stanford University
Tatiana Pasternak   University of Rochester
Desmond Patterson   Patterson Instruments
Panayiota Poirazi   Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology
Alexandre Pouget   University of Rochester
Erin M. Schuman   HHMI and Caltech
Krishna V. Shenoy   Stanford University
S. Murray Sherman   University of Chicago
Thanos Siapas   California Institute of Technology
Sara A. Solla   Northwestern University

Invited Moderators

In addition to our expert speakers, we have an august list of session moderators to keep the discussions lively and interesting.

Kenneth Blum   Harvard University
Catherine Ojakangas   University of Chicago
Barry Richmond   National Institutes of Health (NIMH)
Stelios Smirnakis   Baylor College of Medicine
Eilon Vaadia   Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Organizing Committee

Blue Church Caldera Sunset Nicholas Hatsopoulos, Co-Chair
John Pezaris, Co-Chair
Dora Angelaki
Thanos Siapas
Catherine Ojakangas
Andreas Tolias

Local Organizers

Nike Makris
Erika Berry
Josh Markey

The Myth of Ariadne

Path at Centre We take the conference name from the title, Research in Encoding And Decoding of Neural Ensembles, combined with the name of the mythological figure Ariadne.

Theseus, an Athenian hero, journeyed to Crete to slay the Minotaur, a half-bull, half-human creature. King Minos of Crete kept the Minotaur at the center of a large maze he built, known as the Labyrinth.

Minos' daughter Ariadne, after whom we've named the conference, gave Theseus a sword and a ball of silk thread, both of which had been given to her by Daedalus, designer of the labyrinth. Theseus tied one end of the thread to the door, unwinding the rest as he navigated the Labyrinth, so that after slaying the Minotaur, he could easily escape by following the thread back to the entrance.

Et Cetera

The language of presentation will be English.

Abstract submission has closed.

Registration has closed, as we have no additional available spots.

No internet access will be provided at the Nomikos Conference Centre. This is a conscious decision to encourage attendees to participate in the conference rather than to be distracted by email and the Web. Internet cafes are readily available in Fira for emergencies. The response from our 2006 attendees on this policy was overwhelmingly positive.

Some practical information about visiting the island is available.

For additional information, please contact the Organizing Committee Co-Chairs, John Pezaris and Nicholas Hatsopoulos, at

The brain/maze logo was designed by Doug Rubino while he was a graduate student at the University of Chicago with Nicho Hatsopoulos.

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