|Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems|
|Discipline||Machine learning, statistics, artificial intelligence, computational neuroscience|
The Conference and Workshop on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) is a machine learning and computational neuroscience conference held every December. The conference is currently a double-track meeting (single-track until 2015) that includes invited talks as well as oral and poster presentations of refereed papers, followed by parallel-track workshops that up to 2013 were held at ski resorts.
The NIPS meeting was first proposed in 1986 at the annual invitation-only Snowbird Meeting on Neural Networks for Computing organized by The California Institute of Technology and Bell Laboratories. NIPS was designed as a complementary open interdisciplinary meeting for researchers exploring biological and artificial Neural Networks. Reflecting this multidisciplinary approach, NIPS began in 1987 with information theorist Ed Posner as the conference president and learning theorist Yaser Abu-Mostafa and computational neurobiologist James Bower as co-program chairman. Research presented in the early NIPS meetings including a wide range of topics from efforts to solve purely engineering problems to the use of computer models as a tool for understanding biological nervous systems. Since then, the biological and artificial systems research streams have diverged, and recent NIPS proceedings have been dominated by papers on machine learning, artificial intelligence and statistics.
From 1987 until 2000 NIPS was held in Denver, United States. Since then, the conference was held in Vancouver, Canada (2001-2010), Granada, Spain (2011), and Lake Tahoe, United States (2012-2013). In 2014 and 2015, the conference was held in Montreal, Canada, in Barcelona, Spain in 2016, and in Long Beach, United States in 2017. Reflecting its origins at Snowbird, Utah, the meeting was accompanied by workshops organized at a nearby ski resort up until 2013, when it outgrew ski resorts.
The NIPS Conference is organized by the NIPS Foundation, established by Ed Posner in 1987. Terrence Sejnowski has been the president of the NIPS Foundation since 1993, when Posner had a bicycle accident. The board of trustees consists of previous general chairs of the NIPS Conference.
The proceedings from the conferences have been published in book form by Morgan Kaufmann (1987-1993), MIT Press (1994-2004) and Curran Associates (2005-present) under the name Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems.
The conference had 5,000 registered participants in 2016 and 8,000 in 2017, making it the largest conference in Artificial Intelligence. Besides machine learning and neuroscience, other fields represented at NIPS include cognitive science, psychology, computer vision, statistical linguistics, and information theory. Although the 'Neural' in the NIPS acronym had become something of a historical relic, the resurgence of deep learning in neural networks since 2012, fueled by faster computers and big data, has led to impressive achievement in speech recognition, object recognition in images, image captioning, language translation and world championship performance in the game of Go, based on neural architectures inspired by the hierarchy of areas in the visual cortex (ConvNet) and reinforcement learning inspired by the basal ganglia (Temporal difference learning).
In addition to invited talks and symposia, NIPS also organizes two named lectureships to recognize distinguished researchers. The NIPS Board introduced the Posner Lectureship in honor of NIPS founder Ed Posner; two Posner Lectures were given each year up to 2015. Past lecturers have included:
In 2015, the NIPS Board introduced the Breiman Lectureship to highlight work in statistics relevant to conference topics. The lectureship was named for statistician Leo Breiman, who served on the NIPS Board from 1994 to 2005. Past lecturers have included:
In NIPS 2014, the program chairs duplicated 10% of all submissions and sent them through separate reviewers to evaluate randomness in the reviewing process. Several researchers interpreted the result. Regarding whether the decision in NIPS is completely random or not, John Langford writes: "Clearly not--a purely random decision would have arbitrariness of ~78%. It is, however, quite notable that 60% is much closer to 78% than 0%." He concludes that the result of the reviewing process is mostly arbitrary.