Call for Participation: The Third WBA Hackathon — Wake up, Hippocampus! Incorporating Hippocampal Models toward AGI Prototypes —

Artist: M. Yamamoto, Sketch: Sketch Simplification, Paint: PaintsChainer

The Whole Brain Architecture Initiative (WBAI) is an NPO supporting the realization of artificial general intelligence for human society over the long term.

The WBA Hackathon started in 2015. The themes of the first and the second hackathons were “Combined Machine Learning” and “Cognitive Architecture,” respectively. The theme of this year is “Brain-inspired Cognitive Architecture.” More concretely, the goal is to incorporate hippocampal models to WBA.

The higher-order cognitive functions of mammals (including humans) are realized with the combination of the neocortex, basal ganglia, hippocampal formation, and cerebellum. Deep reinforcement learning has realized a highly versatile cognitive architecture, combining deep learning corresponding to the neocortex and reinforcement learning corresponding to the basal ganglia. If hippocampal models is incorporated here, it can be the first prototype of brain-inspired cognitive architecture.

The hippocampal formation integrates information of the neocortex to carry out important functions in episodic memory, self-localization, and the formation of long-term memory, creating the subjective sense of “now and here”. If the combination of the neocortex and the basal ganglia is the core of the executive system, the combination of the neocortex and the hippocampus can be considered as the core of the system of recognition.

The hackathon participants of this year will create or improve a hippocampal model by incorporating it into provided neocortex and basal ganglia modules to create a brain-inspired cognitive architecture capable of various cognitive tasks.

If the hippocampal piece is added to brain-inspired architecture in this hackathon, it would realize the rodent level intelligence, to make an important milestone in the WBA approach.

September 16th, 17th, and 18th, 2017

Φ Cafe, Kadokawa Hongo Bldg. 6F, 5-24-5 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, Japan

No fee for attendance. Participants may incur travel and lodging expenses.
See below for financial aids for students.

Register by August 8th from the registration form.
The registration should be team-basis. Please create a team repository on GitHub and specify what you’d like to achieve during the hackathon on before registration. All the team members should be specified in the registration form.
Registration may be declined if the number of participants exceeds the limit (about 40 persons), or the summary given is judged irrelevant to WBA or antisocial.

Publishing your work
Participants are to publish the work created in the hackathon with a Readme file on GitHub under the WBAI Contributor Agreement and the Apache 2.0 License.

Program style
There are two program styles you can choose in the hackathon. The both programs aim at developing a cognitive system to solve problems by implementing hippcampus into WBA, which has the functions of episodic memory and space recognition.

  • Compulsory program
    • The goal of program is set by WBAI that prepares specific problems.
  • Free program
    • You can set your own goal to solve problems.

Achievements will be juried in terms of the following criteria:

  • Originality
  • Engineering utility
  • Neuroscientific reality
    • Realization of various cognitive functions on hippocampus
    • Neuro-connectivity between hippocampus and other brain areas
    • Correspondence with neuronal activities of hippocampus and other brain areas

The winner will be awarded with cash prize.

Previous Hackathon: click here

Important dates

  • CFP: June 7th
  • First Orientation: June 24th (Material)
  • Second Orientation: July 22nd
    • Oral orientation in Japanese. Materials in English will be distributed later.
  • End of Registration: August 8th
  • Acceptance notice: August 18th
  • Sample code released: August 18th
  • Orientation on the sample code and the presentation of participants (if possible):
    • August 19th (1:00pm JST)
  • Hackathon: September 16th – 18th
    • Beginning: September 16th 10:00am JST
    • End of work: September 18th Noon
    • Review, Presentation, and Awarding: 18th afternoon till 17h

Participants (up to 20 persons) can stay at a hotel reserved by WBAI for the evenings of September 15th, 16th, and 17th.
In case you’d like to stay in the hotel, please inform us from the registration form.
Participants must pay for the lodging (4,290 yen per person/night).

Financial aids for students
Students meeting all the following conditions will be eligible for financial aids with regard to travel and lodging expenses up to JPY65,000/person. Application can be made from the registration form.
You should fully participate in the hackathon at Φ Cafe on September 16th, 17th, and 18th.
Your work at the hackathon with a Readme file should be published on GitHub.
For details, please contact us.

Software Resources
Sample code includes a sample cognitive architecture and virtual environment with an agent with reinforcement learning. Details will be published by August 19th. The default programming language at the hackathon will be Python.

Remote Sites
If you cannot come to Tokyo, you can still set up a WBA hackathon site in your vicinity. Please contact us!

Further Information
For any question, please contact us at hackathon2017 [at]

Organizer: The Whole Brain Architecture Initiative (Operated by the WBAI Supporters)
Collaborated with Dwango AI Lab.
Supported by:

  • SIG-AGI of the Japanese Society for Artificial Intelligence