At the NeurIPS Conference in Vancouver an ELLIS Assembly was organized in the morning of 10th of December. The meeting offered the opportunity to give an update on ELLIS programs and announced the first set of 17 units from 11 different countries (Alicante, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Darmstadt, Delft, Freiburg, Helsinki, Linz, Lausanne, Leuven, Oxford, Prague, Saarbrücken, Tel Aviv, Tübingen, Vienna (IST Austria) and Zürich (ETH Zürich)) that were considered to be ‘ready to be launched’ by the international evaluation committee. These and a few more units which will be selected in the still ongoing process will be officially launched in April 2020. The second call for proposals for the creation of ELLIS units has the deadline 1st of March. More details about the first set of 17 units can be found here.
During the event, a Letter of Intent with the CIFAR Learning in Machines and Brains (LMB) program regarding the formation of an association between ELLIS and LMB was signed. LMB and ELLIS share a vision of outstanding basic research in learning systems, organize targeted workshops in the field, and engage in student education by running summer schools. At the same time, LMB and ELLIS are complementary in their geographic focus: ELLIS focuses on Europe, while LMB has its center of mass in North America (including a small number of individuals outside that area).
At the end of the meeting as the sun rose over the Vancouver Harbour, the participants had part of a little surprise: a flash mob organised by the Vancouver Bach Choir directed by Les Dala, and sponsored by the Hector Fellow Academy (www.hector-fellow-academy.de).