Structure of the school

Mornings consisted of tutorial lectures that systematically introduced into the relevant concepts and methods, including all required math.

Afternoons consisted of hands-on work with robot systems. The first few days, this hands-on work was structured by code and example problems provided.

Each participant was encouraged to develop a project of his or her own, possibly in small teams during the second part of the school. Template code was available out of which such projects could be developed. The teachers met with students over lunch in the first few days to develop ideas for such projects.


We used a variety of robots in special projects, but the main work horses for the tutorials was the e-pucks and the Khepera II robot vehicles.

The hands-on work was done in Matlab, to which a short tutorial introduction was provided.

Topics covered

  • Elementary neural dynamics
    • attractor dynamics
    • dependence on input
    • link to neuronal networks
    • self-excitation and competition.
  • Mathematical foundations of the Dynamic Field Theory (DFT)
    • activation concept
    • dimensions, fields
    • neuronal interaction and peaks as attractor states
    • instabilities
  • Elements of embodied cognition
    • detection
    • estimation
    • selection
    • working memory
    • change detection
    • sequence generation
  • Implementation issues
    • interfacing to sensors
    • interfacing to motors
    • numerical integration
    • time constant, Euler step, timing of input
  • Attractor dynamics in robotics
    • obstacle avoidance
    • target acquisition
    • other motor behaviors
    • robot formations
  • DFT in robotics
    • estimation with fields
    • sensor fusion with fields
    • associations between feature dimensions
    • object representations
    • scene representations
    • spatial language

Yearly summer school

Institut für Neuroinformatik (INI)
Ruhr-Universit├Ąt Bochum, Germany
Next event:
August 25-30, 2014

Apply now!
Application deadline is June 15, 2014.


For general enquiries, please contact Prof. Dr. Gregor Schöner

To apply for the DFT summer school, please follow the instructions for application.