While Googling, I noticed there are 2 conferences for computational neuroscience: Cosyne and CNS.

My questions are:
1) What are these conferences' differences in terms of material & impact/size?
2) Are there any other major computational neuroscience conferences I missed?


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    $\begingroup$ You missed what is perhaps the premier one, NIPS $\endgroup$ Feb 11, 2014 at 4:21
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    $\begingroup$ (it mixes in some ML and AI, too, so it's not "pure" computational neuroscience, but you'll find all of the big names there) $\endgroup$ Feb 11, 2014 at 4:33
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    $\begingroup$ I have no clue about those two, unfortunately. They both look like they have some big names. Cosyne looks like it had more program chairs in 2011 that I recognized (Daniel Wolpert, for example is a superstar in Bayesian coding, etc.). The fact that CNS draws Christof Koch as a keynote speaker should speak for itself! $\endgroup$ Feb 11, 2014 at 17:08
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    $\begingroup$ Two notable names that I'm not seeing are G. Bart Ermentrout and Larry Abbott, but that doesn't mean they weren't participating. $\endgroup$ Feb 11, 2014 at 17:10
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    $\begingroup$ @ChuckSherrington I don't think your characterization of NIPS is accurate, it doesn't 'mix in some ML and AI' it is one of the two premier ML conferences, which might mix in a little bit of comp neuro. In reality, I think the typical comp neuro lab would have a very difficult time trying to publish there. For instance, take a look at the 2013 proceedings. $\endgroup$ Feb 12, 2014 at 3:07

1 Answer 1


I have participated in NIPS, CNS, and COSYNE at least a couple times each. In fact, I have participated in all 3 last year.

COSYNE is the smallest conference, but it's growing fast. It's a great conference because it has a good balance between experimentalists and theorists. It takes an extended abstract (2 pages). It emphasizes the systems aspect of the brain.

CNS has more physicist/mathematicians (COSYNE and NIPS also have a high number of them, but CNS has the most), and has a feeling of "European" science. The themes are more theory oriented. I heard that it is usually bigger when it's held in Europe (it alternates).

NIPS started half machine learning, half neuroscience a long time ago, but it has been overrun by ML people. But, in recent years, I see more and more computational neuroscience coming back to NIPS. It has a strict double blind reviewing with high rejection rate around 25% for an 8 page full paper (+1 page reference).

Each conference has its own niche, so the impact would depend on your area within computational neuroscience. NIPS is the only one with a full paper, so it tends to be cited more. However, a lot of networking happens in COSYNE and CNS among neuroscientists, so it would definitely have more impact to experimentalists.

Feel free to ask me more questions.

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    $\begingroup$ There is also a stereotype of CNS being more biophysical and Cosyne being more systems-oriented. (I have never been to CNS) $\endgroup$
    – honi
    May 15, 2015 at 7:10

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