AREADNE 2012 Logo   AREADNE 2012
Research in Encoding And Decoding of
Neural Ensembles

Nomikos Conference Centre
Santorini, Greece
21-24 June 2012
  AREADNE Brain Maze Logo


AREADNE 2012 was another remarkable event. This part of the web site now holds the archival material from the conference. Thanks to everyone who helped make our fourth meeting one to remember!

The final scientific program is available as a PDF download (6 MB) from

» Note that the file can take more than 30 seconds to download. «

Please cite the program as: J. S. Pezaris and N. G. Hatsopoulos (editors) Proceedings of AREADNE 2012, Santorini, Greece, 21-24 June 2012, published by The AREADNE Foundation, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA,

Information on past (and future) AREADNE conferences can be found at

Site Overview

Introduction (scroll down)
Important Dates
Call for Abstracts
Poster Information
Travel Information
Hotel Information
Practical Information
Restaurant Information
Additional Activities
Resources for Travel Grants
Archives of Previous Meetings
Google Group for Official Announcements
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.

Cacti Recent technological advances have provided new glimpses into the global functioning of the brain. These technologies include functional magnetic resonance imaging, optical imaging and manipulation methods, 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

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 with special emphasis on interactions beyond the traditional presentations. Third, this conference continues the public aspects of 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 Eastern Mediterranean researchers and students.

Conference Location and Organization

Nomikos Centre from Afar The conference will take place on the Greek island of Santorini from Thursday through Sunday, 21-24 June 2012, with a welcoming reception the evening before the conference begins (that is, the evening of 20 June 2012). 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 working lunch. After a long afternoon break, attendees will reconvene for early evening talks, coffee, and poster presentations, ending in time for late dinner in accord with local customs. Although attendees are welcome from around the world, speakers have been selected primarily from the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. 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 Abstracts

We anticipate being oversubscribed for 2012 as in previous years, and so strongly encourage anyone who is considering attending the conference to submit a poster abstract. Accepted posters will have a registration reserved for the presenter; Other registration spots will be on a first come first served basis.

Abstract submission has closed.

Registration and Fees

White and Fuscia Bougainvillea Conference fees will be USD 450 for students, USD 650 for post-docs, USD 850 for faculty members or professionals, and USD 1250 for on-site registrants, space permitting. On-site fees are considered full price; the other levels are discounted thanks to our generous sponsors. Registration fees will be payable in USD by credit card.

Registration fees cover coffee breaks, hot lunches, a welcoming reception, an evening banquet, and an optional excursion. Attendance will be strictly limited by the capacity of the conference center. Registration is separate from proposal submission. We encourage potential participants to submit poster abstracts as early as possible. Each accepted poster will have one registration spot reserved for the presenting author that has priority over other registrants. Once registration has filled, we will establish a waiting list; at previous meetings, there were only a few members of the waiting list to whom we were eventually able to offer a registration spot. If the conference is full, on-site registrations will not be accepted.

Refund Policy. In the event you have registered but will be unable to attend, a full refund of the paid registration fees will be given until one month before the conference on 21 May 2012, a 50% refund will be given from then until about two weeks before the conference on 6 June 2012, and no refund will be given after 6 June 2012.

Important Dates

2012-01-20  Abstract submissions open
2012-03-28  Abstract submissions close
2012-04-18  Abstract notifications sent
2012-04-20  Registration opens
2012-06-06  Registration closes, fees increase from Regular to On-Site
2012-06-20  Conference Welcome Reception (evening)
2012-06-21  Conference opens (early AM)
2012-06-24  Conference closes (late PM)
2012-06-24  Conference Banquet Dinner (late PM)

Attendees should plan to arrive in Santorini by 20 June 2012 (or the day before, especially for intercontinental travelers), and depart on or after 25 June 2012.


Many hotels are available in and around Fira and Firostefani, from inexpensive C class / two-star hotels to luxury A class / four-star 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. We hope that conference attendees, like the organizing committee, will stay in hotels that are walking distance from the Centre. Plan to arrive by Wednesday, 20 June 2012 (or the day before), and depart Monday, 25 June 2012.

We suggest booking your hotel room as early as possible.


Wrought Iron Gates Daily coffee breaks, lunches, and a welcoming reception will be provided at the conference center. Working lunches will be provided on three of the four days. A gala banquet will 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; guests are welcome to the welcoming reception, and additional tickets will be available to bring guests to the gala banquet.

Breakfasts are typically included in hotel rates, or available with hotel bookings for a nominal charge, and are thus not provided at the conference center. There is a wide selection of nearby restaurants for evening meals, and we anticipate making loosely organized excursions to a different restaurant each evening, except the last when we have the banquet.

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 magnificent sunsets. 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 Ancient Thera and to Kameni, the volcano island at the center of the caldera. These events may not be able to accommodate everyone.

Additional suggested activities are available.


Blue Table with Bench Air transportation to Athens International Airport (ATH) is available both on a regularly scheduled and a seasonal basis through nearly all of the major international airlines, many of the newer discount companies, and numerous charter companies. Air transport from Athens to Santorini (JTR) takes less than an hour and is available multiple times per day. It is often 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 are also available from the airport to the ferries but take 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. We are happy to assist with visa letters for registered attendees.


Pathway and Sky The schedule for the four-day conference 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 detailed speaker and poster schedule will not be available until the conference, even to the speakers.

All attendees should plan a stay that includes arrival Santorini no later than Wednesday, 20 June 2012 (or the day before for intercontinental travelers), and departure no earlier than the following Monday.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012
19:00-21:30   welcome reception (wine and cheese) and registration

Thursday, 21 June 2012
08:00-08:30   registration
08:30-12:30   lectures and coffee break
12:30-14:00   lunch
17:00-21:30   lectures, coffee break, and poster session

Friday, 22 June 2012
09:00-12:30   lectures and coffee break
12:30-14:00   lunch
17:00-21:30   lectures, coffee break, and poster session

Saturday, 23 June 2012
09:00-13:00   optional archaeological and geological excursions
17:00-21:30   lectures, coffee break, and poster session

Sunday, 24 June 2012
09:00-12:30   lectures and coffee break
12:30-14:00   lunch
17:00-19:30   lectures and coffee break
21:00-24:00   banquet reception (full dinner)

By long-standing policy we do not release the detailed speaker or poster schedule before the start of the conference. (Why not?)

Confirmed Speakers

Our speakers include many world-wide luminaries 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. Our confirmed speakers, in alphabetical order by last name, are:

Dora Angelaki   Baylor College of Medicine
Sliman Bensmaia   U. Chicago
Davi Bock   HHMI Janelia Farm
Anne Churchland   Cold Spring Harbor
David Dickman   Baylor College of Medicine
Michael Hasselmo   Boston University
Nicholas Hatsopoulos   U. Chicago
Peter Latham   UCL
Jean Livet   INSERM
Jeff Magee   HHMI Janelia Farm
Dan Margoliash   U. Chicago
Tirin Moore   Stanford
John O'Keefe   UCL
Leslie Osborne   U. Chicago
John Pezaris   Harvard Med. School
Panayiota Poirazi   FORTH / IMBB
Hans Scherberger   DPZ
Elad Schneidman   Weizmann Institute
Shy Shoham   Technion
Idan Segev   Hebrew University
Eilon Vaadia   Hebrew University


Thistle and Sunset 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
Nikos Logothetis  Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics
Anthony Movshon  New York University
Barry Richmond  NIH / NIMH
Irini Skaliora  Biomed. Res. Foundation, Academy of Athens
Stelios Smirnakis  Baylor College of Medicine

Organizing Committee

Nicholas Hatsopoulos, Co-Chair
John Pezaris, Co-Chair
Catherine Ojakangas
Andreas Tolias
Yiota Poirazi
Thanos Siapas

The Myth of Ariadne

Table 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.

Practical Information

We have assembled a body of practical information to guide planning for attending an AREADNE Conference.

Et Cetera

The language of presentation for AREADNE Conferences is English.

Abstract submission has closed.

Registration has closed.

To be sent important email announcements about AREADNE 2012, please send a message to the organizers at, or add yourself to the Google Group for Official AREADNE Announcements.

Internet access will be provided at the Nomikos Conference Centre to only a limited extent. 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 and extended access. The response from the attendees to all three of our previous conferences on this policy was overwhelmingly positive.

Certificates of attendance will be issued at the conference, or can be requested after the conference from

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

Photographs on this site were all taken on Santorini 2005-2011 by John Pezaris (except the satellite view published by NASA), to show a little of the magnificence and austere beauty of the island. Click on any of them to view a larger version (and use the BACK button on your browser to return to the previous page).

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