The Systems Vision Science Summer School & Symposium, Aug. 14-24, 2023 – Tuebingen, Germany

What is systems vision science?

Systems vision science combines computational, behavioral, and neuroscience methods to discover functions and algorithms for vision in various brain regions and their implementations in neural circuits.

Target audience

This summer school should be helpful to experimental vision researchers for learning computational methods, vision theorists and modellers for closer links with experimental data,  computer vision researchers and physical scientists for learning about biological vision, and, more generally, vision scientists interested in topics and approaches in systems vision science.

Style and content

Unlike a typical summer school which combines multiple tutorials or pedagogical seminars, this summer school is like a graduate school course with a more coherently structured syllabus. The syllabus expands upon the content of a textbook “Understanding vision: theory, models, and data” published by Oxford University Press 2014. The course will be taught by a team of local and international lecturers.

A typical day in the summer school contains lectures, guided exercise and discussion sessions, interspersed by break time for lunch, dinner, and coffee/tea, etc for social interactions. Students are encouraged to bring their research project posters to the school for viewing and presentation during these break time exchanges — the posters will be available for viewing throughout the summer school. In exercise/discussion sessions, students can apply theoretically gained knowledge and can have opportunities for one-to-one tutorials with summer school lecturers and teaching assistants. Discussion sessions will also encourage interactions by including discussions on, e.g., controversial research issues, historical retrospectives, differences/relationship between disciplines, and relationship between theories and data.

The summer school will end with a symposium on frontier topics in systems vision science, with talks and posters by additional speakers and symposium participants. The summer school students will be invited to the symposium as participants, and are welcome to submit contributions to the symposium.

Our invited speakers for the summer school and symposium are Assaf Breska, Peter Dayan, Andrea van Doorn, Wolfgang Einhäuser-Treyer, Karl Gegenfurtner, Ziad Hafed, Tadashi Isa, Jan Koenderink, Kristine Krug, Hanspeter Mallot, Laurence Maloney, Pascal Mamassian, Antje Nuthmann, Daniel Osorio, Andrew Parker, Jenny Read, Alexander Schütz, Marty Sereno, Manuel Spitschan, Kristina Visscher and Li Zhaoping. Find more information here!

Please find here the organizers of the Systems Vision Science Summer School and Symposium 2023.

Aim and motivation

This summer school aims to promote a systems level approach of understanding how vision works by combining neural and behavioral data with theories and models. This is motivated by a recognition that fresh research progress increasingly requires this approach, and that both new ideas and new experimental technology can help to strengthen the tradition of scientific rigor.


Experience or knowledge in (A) computational methods, (B) visual psychophysics, and (C) vision neuroscience, is not required. However, experience in at least one of (A), (B), and (C), and a readiness to learn, is expected. Summer school admission will be based on interest/motivation and prior knowledge/experience of the applicants, and on how much the applicants could benefit from participation. See more information about pre-requisites here.

The Systems Vision Science summer school is held at the Max-Planck-Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tuebingen, Germany, one of the world-leading research institutes in the field of brain sciences.

Concept of the summer school

  • A coherent graduate-course syllabus in a summer school format
  • Data, models, and theory — what, how, and why
  • Content and approaches presented by and discussed with world leading experts in vision science
  • Supervised exercises help to practice the theoretical knowledge
  • Poster sessions of your work
  • Social interactions and networking while you enjoy science
  • A symposium on frontier topics to intensify and extend the knowledge gained during the classes

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