AREADNE 2020 Logo   AREADNE 2020
Research in Encoding And Decoding of
Neural Ensembles


Nomikos Conference Centre
Santorini, Greece
16-20 June 2020
  AREADNE Brain Maze Logo




AREADNE 2020

Site Overview

Introduction (scroll down)
Important Dates
Travel Information
Hotel Information
Practical Information
Restaurant Information
Additional Activities
Frequently Asked Questions
Scholarships and Resources for Travel Grants
Archives of Previous Meetings
Google Group for Official Announcements
Contact the Conference Organizers


Introduction

One of the fundamental problems in neuroscience is to understand how the activation of ensembles 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 fifty 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.

Cactus and Caldera Recent technological advances have provided new glimpses into the global functioning of the brain. These technologies include functional magnetic resonance imaging, optical imaging and stimulation, high-density electroencephalography and magnetoencephalography, multi-microelectrode array electrophysiology, and genetic manipulation. 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 or 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 the AREADNE Conferences. First and foremost, the meetings are intended to gather global scientific leaders who work on neural ensembles and create a touch-point for a widely disparate and hybrid field. Second, with a spectacular setting on Santorini, the conferences have been carefully planned to foster discussion and interaction between attendees to encourage the establishment of lasting professional relationships. Third, these meetings continue our efforts to promote systems neuroscience in Greece through creating a world-class forum for cutting-edge research.


Conference Location and Organization

Nomikos Entrance The 2020 conference will take place on the Greek island of Santorini from Wedneday through Saturday, 17-20 June 2020, with an informal Welcome Reception the evening of Tuesday, 16 June 2020 -- this schedule is a day earlier than previous meetings. The conference will be at the Petros M. Nomikos Conference Centre in the town of Firá (see photo to the right). The conference will be single-track. Morning talks will be followed by a working lunch. After an afternoon break, participants will reconvene for early evening talks and poster presentations, ending in time for late dinner in accordance with local customs. Although delegates arrive from around the world, speakers have been selected primarily from the United States, Europe, and the Middle East.


Submission of Poster Abstracts

We anticipate being oversubscribed for 2020 as in previous years, and so strongly encourage anyone who is considering attending the conference to submit a poster abstract. Accepted posters will have one registration reserved for the presenter. Other registration spots will be on a first come first served basis. We are typically able to accommodate only an exceedingly small number of delegates who have not presented a poster.


Registration and Fees

Arches Conference fees will be finalized in late 2019, but are anticipated to 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 the generosity of our sponsors. Registration fees are payable in USD by credit card. While we will endevour to keep registration fees as stated here, they are subject to change without notice until registration has opened.

Registration fees cover coffee breaks, hot lunches, the Welcome Reception, the Gala Banquet, and an optional excursion. Attendance will be strictly limited by the capacity of the conference center. Registration is separate from proposal submission. Once registration has filled, a waiting list is established; at previous meetings, only a few people on the waiting list were eventually offered a registration spot. If the conference is full, on-site registrations will not be accepted.

Refund Policy. If you have registered but will be unable to attend, a full refund of the paid fees will be given until 19 May 2020, a 50% refund will be given from then until 2 June 2020, and no refund will be given after 2 June 2020.

Registration has not yet opened. To be sent an email reminder when registration opens, please add yourself to the Google Group for Official AREADNE Announcements. In previous years, we have sold out just with presenters of submitted abstracts prior to the official opening of registration; in these cases, when we open registration, delegates who are not authors on a poster are only offered to be put on the waiting list.


Important Dates

2020-01-06  Abstract submissions open
2020-01-24  Abstract submissions close
2020-02-21  Abstract notifications sent
2020-03-06  Registration opens
2020-05-26  Registration closes
2020-06-16  Conference Welcome Reception (late PM)
2020-06-17  Conference opens (early AM)
2020-06-20  Conference closes (late PM)
2020-06-20  Conference Gala Banquet (late PM)

Attendees should plan to arrive in Santorini by 16 June 2020 (or the day before, especially for intercontinental travelers), and depart on or after 21 June 2020.


Accommodations

Many hotels are available in and around Firá 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 Firá, 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 Tuesday, 16 June 2020 if coming from Europe or Monday, 15 June 2020 if traveling intercontinentally, and depart Sunday, 21 June 2020.

We suggest booking your hotel room as early as possible.


Meals

Blue Urns Daily coffee breaks, lunches, and a Welcome 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 are included in the conference fee for participants; guests are welcomed to the Welcome Reception, and additional tickets will be available to bring guests to the Gala Banquet.

Breakfasts are typically included in hotel rates, or available with 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 Akrotiri and to Nea Kameni, the volcano island at the center of the caldera. These events may not be able to accommodate everyone.

Additional suggested activities are available.


Transportation

Frames Air transportation to Athens International Airport (ATH) is available 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.

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 Firá, 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.


Schedule

Sail Shade 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. Note that our schedule for AREADNE 2020 spans TUESDAY to SATURDAY, unlike previous meetings that were different by a day.

All attendees should plan a stay that includes arrival on Santorini no later than Tuesday, 16 June 2020 if coming from Europe, or Monday, 15 June 2020 for intercontinental travelers, and departure no earlier than the following Sunday, 21 June 2020.

Tuesday, 16 June 2020
19:30-22:00   Welcome Reception (wine and cheese) and Registration

Wednesday, 17 June 2020
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

Thursday, 18 June 2020
09:00-12:30   Lectures and coffee break
12:30-14:00   Lunch
17:00-21:30   Lectures, coffee break, and poster session

Friday, 19 June 2020
09:00-13:00   Optional archaeological and geological excursions
17:00-21:30   Lectures, coffee break, and poster session

Saturday, 20 June 2020
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   Gala Banquet (full dinner)

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


Organizing Committee

John Pezaris, Co-Chair  Harvard Medical School
Nicholas Hatsopoulos, Co-Chair  University of Chicago
Yiota Poirazi  Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas
Andreas Tolias  Baylor College of Medicine
Dora Angelaki  New York University
Thanos Siapas  California Institute of Technology
Kenny Blum  Harvard University


The Myth of Ariadne

Olives on Tree We take the conference name AREADNE from the subtitle, 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 at the entrance, unwinding the rest as he navigated the Labyrinth, so that after slaying the Minotaur, he could easily escape by following the thread back out.


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.

To be sent important email announcements about AREADNE 2020, please add yourself to the Google Group for Official AREADNE Announcements.

Internet access will be provided at the Nomikos Conference Centre only to 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 Firá for emergencies and extended access. The response from the attendees to all 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 info@areadne.org.

We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions

For additional information on other conference-related topics, please contact the Organizing Committee Co-Chairs, John Pezaris and Nicholas Hatsopoulos, at info@areadne.org.

Photographs on this site were taken on Santorini 2005-2018 by John Pezaris (except the satellite view published by NASA), to display 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). Images are copyrighted by the artist and are used by The AREADNE Foundation with permission.




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