1998 UW/MSR Summer Institute Logo

Intelligent Systems:
Biological and Computational Perspectives

August 18-23, 1998
Seattle and San Juan Island, Washington, USA

1998 MSR/UW Summer Institute

Hosted by
Microsoft Research and University of Washington

Welcome to the home page for the MSR/UW Summer Institute on Intelligent Systems. The 1998 MSR/UW Summer Institute was organized to explore fundamental questions about intelligent systems, through a synthesis of insights from biology, computer science, and decision science. The meeting will provide a venue for dialogue between biologists and computer scientists on computational attributes of systems that perform effectively amidst the complexities and uncertainties of real-world environments.

You can jump to specific information about the 1998 MSR/UWR Summer Institute by clicking on the following topics:


The 1998 MSR/UW Summer Institute will explore conceptual relationships and synergies between biological and computational perspectives on intelligent systems. The Institute will bring together scientists investigating intelligent systems from a variety of subdisciplines of the biological and computational sciences, including integrative and comparative biology, neuroscience, neuroethology, artificial intelligence, decision science, computational neuroscience, computational theory, computer engineering, operating systems, and networking and communications. The meeting goals are (1) to discuss principles, architectures, and unifying abstractions that may underlie intelligent systems, (2) to understand how findings elucidated by biologists can assist computer scientists and engineers in the design of robust and flexible computing systems, and (3) to investigate how results and insights developed by computer scientists can help biologists to understand the neurophysiological foundations of learning and intelligent behavior. The program will incorporate presentations, panel discussions, breakout group sessions, and side trips in a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere. The program will begin at the University of Washington in Seattle, from Tuesday, August 18th through Thursday, August 20. Invitees will then be flown by seaplane to Friday Harbor Laboratories on San Juan Island, where laboratory sessions involving diverse organisms will augment the discussions. The program will conclude Saturday, August 22.


Chris Diorio
Computer Science and Engineering
University of Washington

Eric Horvitz
Decision Theory and Adaptive Systems Group
Microsoft Research

Dennis Willows
Friday Harbor Laboratories
University of Washington

Administrative Support

Jennifer Seller (seller@cs.washington.edu), of the University of Washington Computer Science and Engineering Department, will be providing overall administrative support for the 1998 MSR/UW Summer Institute. She will be working with Joyce Smith (joyces@fhl.washington.edu), of the Friday Harbor Laboratories on Friday Harbor arrangements.

Schedule Overview

The institute will begin on Monday evening, August 17, 1998 and will end on Saturday evening, August 22, 1998. Plenary sessions will take place at the main campus of the University of Washington from August 18 through August 20. On Friday morning, August 21, the meeting will shift to the Friday Harbor Laboratories on San Juan Island. Participants will be transported to San Juan Island via an enthralling seaplane trip. Click here to view the Institute program. Click here for a skeletal view of the program containing basic information on times and locations.

Online Registration

We are accepting registration information via a set of online forms. Click here to register for the UW/MSR Summer Institute.

For Presenters

Organizers will contact you if you will be presenting. Please submit information on your presentation by clicking here.

Background on the MSR/UW Summer Institute

The MSR/UW Summer Institute series was created by the Computer Science and Engineering Department of the University of Washington and Microsoft Research with the goal of bringing leading researchers to Seattle for summer programs to collaborate on key topics in computer science. The series began in 1997 with the successful MSR/UW Summer Institute in Datamining.

The 1998 MSR/UW Summer Institute on Intelligent Systems: Biological and Computational Perspectives has its roots in recent dialog between invertebrate biologists and computer scientists. In August 1997, Dennis Willows invited Eric Horvitz to Friday Harbor Laboratories to give a talk on the relationships between computational models for decision making under uncertainty and biological systems. The seminar was successful in stimulating additional interest, ongoing discussions, and thoughts about organizing another meeting. Chris Diorio arrived at the University of Washington in the Fall of 1997 and joined Dennis and Eric in discussions about the feasibility of organizing a meeting. With the assistance of Ed Lazowska, Chairman of the UW Computer Science and Engineering Department and Dan Ling, Director of Research at the Redmond Campus of Microsoft Research, a decision was made to focus the 1998 MSR/UW Summer Institute on key questions about intelligent systems.