Santa Fe Workshop

Modularity and Compositionality in Motor Control: Issues and Perspectives

A Workshop to Acknowledge the Career of Emilio Bizzi

May 5, 2018 following NCM at Hilton Buffalo Thunder, Santa Fe, NM

In this special one-day workshop, we will explore past, present and future of issues related to modularity, compositionality and their neural mechanisms as they emerged from the collective efforts of many investigators. Importantly, our goal is to have a workshop centered on ideas rather than formal presentations.

Each session will begin with an introduction of the topic by the chair, followed by brief presentations of key issues by discussants. All participants are invited to join the discussion and may refer to one personal slide (preloaded for viewing).

The day will culminate in a celebratory dinner for which there will be a modest fee (in addition to cash bar).

Participants will be responsible for their lodging and airfare. A small block of rooms has been arranged at the hotel at the cost of $185 per night.


BREAKFAST and SIGN-IN [7:30 - 8:30 am]

SESSION 1 [8:30 – 10:30 am] : What are the neural bases of modularity in the motor system?
Chair: Simon Giszter
Discussants: Vincent C.K. Cheung, Ariel Levine, Kazuhiko Seki
Topics covered:

    Formation of muscle synergies via spinal circuit
    Supraspinal control
    Development of muscle synergies
    Muscle synergies after neural damage
SESSION 2 [11:00 am – 1:00 pm] : Does modularity reflect neural control or biomechanics?
Chair: Andrea d’Avella
Discussant: Lena Ting, Mathew Tresch, Francisco Valero-Cuevas
Topics covered:
    Identification of muscle synergies via matrix factorization
    Muscle synergies and biomechanical constraints
    Modularity and learning
    Modularity and mechanics
LUNCH BREAK [1:00 - 2:00 pm] (on your own own - please return promptly for Session 3)

SESSION 3 [2:00 – 4:00 pm] : Does compositionality simplify motor control and motor learning?
Chair: Sandro Mussa-Ivaldi
Discussants: Robert Ajemian, Tamar Flash, Emanuel Todorov
Topics covered:
    Modularity and learning/optimization
    Theoretical approaches to modularity and compositionality
CONCLUSION [4:30 – 5:50 pm] : Future directions
Chair: Terence Sanger
Topics covered:
    What experiments and/or theoretical simulations should be performed to answer to the issues discussed in the sessions?
COCKTAILS [6:30 - 7:00 pm] and DINNER [7:00 - 9:00 pm]


Please Note: there is no registration fee to attend this special workshop, but registration is required and space is limited. If you are interested in attending you are encouraged to inquire as soon as possible! Email Ms. Charlotte Potak at