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Overview of IEEE SMC 2017 Conference in Banff

The SMC 2017 conference (http://smc2017.org/) will be held in Banff Centre, Banff, October 5-8. In 2017 we will include several innovative components in the program, including Late Breaking and Industrial Papers; SMC Junior; Brain Machine Interface Workshop; and will establish closer links between the SMC community and medical researchers ranging from Neurology to Surgery. The conference will be dedicated to the memory of Prof. Bill Gruver for his lifelong dedication to SMC society and the conference. The theme of the conference will be “Biological Intelligence for Systems and Cybernetics.” In addition to a packed technical program we will also arrange a strong social program and sightseeing tours to the many outstanding locations in and around Banff. The conference received 840 submissions in the early round but many more are expected to the tracks open for later submission (Junior, Late Breaking, Industrial papers and Workshop papers).

About Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity

Founded in 1933, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is a learning organization built upon an extraordinary legacy of excellence in artistic and creative development. What started as a single course in drama has grown to become the global organization leading in arts, culture, and creativity across dozens of disciplines. From our home in the stunning Canadian Rocky Mountains, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity aims to inspire everyone who attends our campus – artists, leaders, and thinkers – to unleash their creative potential.

About Banff

Banff is your base camp for adventure. World famous for its vibrant turquoise lakes, dramatically beautiful mountains, and warm and vibrant community, it is a place which leaves a lasting impression. Skiing, skating, and snowshoeing gives way to spectacular walking and biking trails during the summer months, and our famous hot springs are yours to enjoy all year round. The town itself is peppered with intriguing museums, galleries, cafés, and boutiques just waiting for you to explore. Banff is only 90-minutes from Calgary International Airport, and is easily accessible by rental car, the Banff Airporter, or the Brewster Banff Airport Express.

Enjoy all that Banff has to offer with our industry partners. You have the opportunity to enjoy a gondola ride up Sulphur Mountain overlooking Banff townsite and Banff National Park; via ferrata to the summit of Mount Norquay; tours of Banff by horseback; golf, skiing, guided excursions, and so much more!

The pictures below show some images of Banff Centre.

Figure 1: Aerial picture of Banff Centre.

Figure 2: A view of one of the research stations at Banff Centre.

Figure 3: Kinnear Centre, the main venue for SMC 2017 in picturesque Banff.

The main conference venue will be Kinnear Centre (Figure 3) in Banff Centre, a three-level facility with floor-to-ceiling glass windows overlooking (Figure 4) the Rocky Mountains. The conference rooms are all equipped with the latest audio-visual equipment with meeting rooms that can be separated or combined to accommodate over 500 attendees in one talk.

Figure 3: Panoramic view from the plenary speaker room.

In addition to around 10 large rooms in Kinnear Center there are additional meeting rooms in nearby buildings that could be used if necessary. Figure 5 shows some of the meeting rooms at Banff Centre.

Figure 5: Meeting rooms at Banff Centre.

There will be a limited amount of accommodation at Banff Centre at a preferential rate offered for conference attendees only. We encourage attendees to book early before space is filled up. Attendees staying at Banff Centre will be able to reserve both breakfast and lunch there during their stay at the dining facility shown below. Others can book lunch at Banff Centre depending on availability of space. Additional box lunches will be provided depending on demand.

To make the submission and registration process simpler in SMC 2017, we will be working with the PaperPlaza submission and IEEE registration system. This will make it possible to check for registration payment before the final paper is uploaded and reduce the workload of organizing committee members. An IEEE supported registration desk will also be in place like other major conferences. We would now like to focus our attention on attracting strong submissions, a variety of special sessions, industrial papers, workshops and so on to make the program appealing to our members and the general research, academic and industrial community.

The conference program will feature plenary talks by speakers from Microsoft Research on Deep Learning, Cornell University on creating Synthetic Vision for the Blind, and International Submarine Engineering on Autonomous Underwater Vehicles. In addition, there will be a workshop highlighting the contributions of Women in Engineering (WiE). The SMC Junior program will include special social programs for students. The poster sessions will include short summary talks summarizing the contributions of each paper, followed by presentation of the posters that will allow direct interaction between authors and attendees.

Figure 6: Conference dining facility.

Figure 7: Accommodation at Banff Centre.

The dining facility (Figure 6) at the conference site will be a modern set up adjacent to the conference meeting rooms. A limited number of hotel rooms (Figure 7) will be available on a first come first served basis at Banff Centre for a preferential rate for SMC 2017 registrants. The meeting rooms will be about a two minute walk from this accommodation. Additional hotel rooms will be available in the Banff town center (Figure 8), or more natural wilderness sites nearby (Figure 9).

Figure 8: Banff town center (left), and more natural sites (right).

Figure 9: Glacier walk on Columbia Icefields (left), and Lake Louise (right).

Banff Centre has hours of nature trails surrounding it, along with art galleries and many cultural programs which will be made available during the conference. In addition, the conference will coordinate with local travel agencies to arrange sightseeing tours to nearby locations like Lake Louise, or the Columbia Icefields for the more adventurous. Attendees and their family members can take a special bus to go up the Columbia Icefields where they can walk on an actual glacier, very carefully!

We welcome everyone to an outstanding location and facility for what we hope will be one of the best SMC conferences. Stay tuned for further updates on the conference program and events as we get closer to October 2017.

Credits: pictures by photographer Don Lee, courtesy Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.