Call for Participation:

IEEE Brain Data Bank Competition - Xi'an

7 July - 8 July, 2018

Following the broad interest and insightful experience from North America and Europe in 2017, the BDB competition will be, for the first time, brought to China, Asia, in July 2018, in conjunction with the 9th bi-annual Brain-Inspired Cognitive Systems (BICS) Conference. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned neuroscience technology professional, the competition is structured to cordially invite you to participate in the Xi’an competition and to exercise your curiosity and creativity in advancing cognitive computing and communication.

Organizing Committee

  • Chair – Nan Chu,CWLab Int’l & IEEE Consumer Electronics Society Rep in IEEE Brain Initiative, USA
  • Jiangbin Zheng, Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xi'an, China
  • Jinchang Ren, University of Strathclyde, UK
  • Amir Hussain, University of Stirling, UK
  • Sin-Kuen Hawkins, IEEE Brain Initiative, USA


Depending on the number of participants and the quality of the work, the following awards will be given to the winners from the Advanced Group in this Competition:

  • 1st place: $600-$1000.00
  • 2nd place: $400-$500.00
  • 3rd place: $200-$300.00

There will be only Certificates of Merits offered to the recorded and/or on-line participation. All will be invited to submit their project results for publication in the Springer’s Series on BICS.


Register now to start your team project as early as possible. The registration form can be downloaded here. Email your Registration Form promptly to:

Registration fee schedule (per Team):

Before June 1st, 2018

Beginner – US $60 (CNY 400) per head or US $240 per group (CNY 1500)

Advanced – US $100 (CNY 650) per head or US $400 per group (CNY 2500)

After June 1st, 2018

Beginner – US $85 (CNY 550) per head or US $340 per group (CNY 2150)

Advanced – US $125 (CNY 850) per head or US $500 per group (CNY 3300)

Deadline: June 25, 2018. (Remote registration with Videotaped Presentation – 1 July, 2018)

Registration space is capped to 20 teams, each team can have up to 5 members maximum. Interested participants are strongly encouraged to register as early as possible to secure a spot.

Registration Cancellation Policy

All cancellation requests must be sent in writing to:

Registration cancellations must be made before July 1st, 2018. There will be a processing charge of $40 (CNY 260) on the refunded amount. After July 1st, 2018, no refund of registration fees will be possible. Refunds will be processed after the BICS 2018 conference. Together with the cancellation request, you should provide us with your bank account.

For any questions, please contact

Competition Schedules

Pre-event Webinar

A Webinar is planned to answer any questions you have and prepare you adequately for this competition and education opportunities. Tentatively it is scheduled around mid-May. Calling information will follow in early May.

Other resources including presentations and video recordings, list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), and other references are available from the IEEE Brain Initiative and Dataport competition page (

7 July, 2018, at BICS, Xi’an, China

Keynote, 10:00-12:00 Xi’an (China time: GMT +8)

Competition Project Presentation, 14:00-18:00 Xi’an (China time: GMT +8)

8 July, 2018, at BICS

Selective Winning Project Full Presentations, within the BICS Main Program, 10:00 – 18:00

For each advanced group, a paper is requested to submit to the main conference as a special session contribution no later than 1 June, 2018, with a free poster presentation. Winners will be invited for oral presentations to the audience.

(Detail instructions about recorded and remote presentations will be announced in June.)

On-line/Remote Participation

Remote participation via Internet will be set up for the Keynote and the Award / distinguished project presentations (Access details to follow.)

Brain Data Bank Competition - Insights

Terabytes of brain EEG data are available through open source, and collected from tests associated with human cognitive capability, stroke patient recovery, class learning ability, and other social environments, over a wide range of demographics. Some also play with stimulus such as audio, music, video, lights and digital games.

Figure 1 illustrates the data flow in brain signal data utilization. The 2017 IEEE BDB Challenges explored creative means to investigate previously collected brain data (circled in blue – right of Figure 1. This was in contrast to the 2016 Brain Initiative Hackathons, which had focused on the Brain Computer Interface (BCI – left of Figure 1).

As examples to stimulate neurotech innovations and to serve with educational purposes, winning projects from 2017 are shown below from St. Petersburg, Russia; Glasgow, Scotland; and Boston, USA. These competitions have generated out-of-the-ordinary results from young researchers from all over the world. For more details, see ;;; and

The First Place Team Project from St. Petersburg, Russia, 26 June, 2017

The First Place Team Project from Glasgow, UK, on 31 October, 2017.

The First Place Team Project in Boston, USA, on 9 December, 2017

The BDB Challenge Process

The aim of this challenging competition is to bring together a diverse group of individuals of varying backgrounds and experience to analyze, visualize, and evaluate complex datasets. Competitors will start with access to the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF), NeruoRacer dataset to challenge individuals with varying backgrounds in data science, computer science, biology, or neuroscience. Results will be evaluated on analytic approach, visualization, and final presentation and interpretation.

Registered Teams/Individuals are expected to creatively demonstrate value based on the UCSF NeuroRacer brain signal datasets that are available upon registration and request on-line from the IEEE Dataport Competition page (send your request to More detailed explanation of the NeuroRacer dataset can be found from the Nature magazine, The International Weekly Journal of Science, doi:10.1038/nature12486, pp. 97-101, continued with notes, p.1-28, 5 Sept., 2013.

Supplementary datasets involving other physiological signals beyond EEG can be correlated with the NeuroRacer dataset for the BDB Competition. All datasets must be anonymized for privacy protection.

It is highly recommended that you form a team to optimize your resources toward outstanding project results in the next few months. It is also recommended you understand the NeuroRacer dataset in advance and begin to work on your projects as soon as practical. Starting early will allow you to gather more meaningful results and to gain more competitive edge.

Participants can structure their scope of competition project to address challenges as listed below.

Example Challenges for the Advanced Group:

  • How can one incorporate EOG-ElectroOculoGram, PPG-PhotoPlethysmorGram, to improve EEG-ElectroEncephaloGraphy signal analysis?
  • Can Artificial Intelligence help predict post-game performance? specifically by what mechanisms and by how much?
  • Would Deep Learning methods help with better data analysis? and how?
  • Without game intervention, what other factors (to name a few: neuromodulation, neurofeedback, education, exercise, environments, pharmaceuticals, nutrition, meditation, etc.) could lead to better predictors of performance? Show proof of contrast and comparison.
  • What future applications matter with 300 ms performance delay found in the NeuroRacer dataset, between the young and the old testers?
  • How do measures of brain topology, neuro-networking or -structure relate to performance in game stimulates?

Example Challenges for the Beginner Group:

  • What can EEG measure of a person’s brain condition (versus what can not)?
  • What are the strengths vs. limitations of the EEG technology?
  • What are the merits of the type of measurement used in the NATURE paper (ERSP-Event-Related Spectral Perturbation) versus others (ERP-Event Related Potential, Coherence, etc.)?
  • What are the realistic EEG applications in daily life (automatic driving, interactive games, Internet Marketing, etc.)? provide convincing prototypes (virtual or real.)


The participants will present their projects in terms of:

  • Assessment of the NeuroRacer datasets
  • Clarity and relevance of the analysis used
  • Methodology
  • Interpretation of brain signal data, singular or multi-modal (EXG, etc.) impact assessment.
  • Significance of findings and recommendations
  • Delivery of findings and recommendations.

Team presentation should consist of no more than 10 slides. Depending on the crowd of participation, please expect to have roughly 10 minutes for your presentation and an additional 5 minutes for Judges to ask you questions.

Recorded presentations will be acceptable if you are not able to attend in person. Please send your recording to Please note remote participation might be limited due to facility and logistics accommodation. We will play your presentation to the Judges, but you might not have an opportunity to entertain questions for further clarification.


Entries will be judged in three categories:

  • Data analysis including well-justified, innovative, and rigorous methodologies
  • Data visualization including novel, highly informative, and aesthetically appealing visualization techniques
  • Presentation and interpretation of findings including clear, informative delivery and compelling investigation and interpretation

Note: Awards decision shall be final by the Competition Judges Panel. There will be only Certificates of Merits offered to the Beginner Groups and to the recorded and/or remote participation. All non-Beginner Groups will be invited to submit their full paper for BICS Publishing with Springer.


  • Xi'an Guangcheng Hotel
  • South Laodong Road, Lianhu District
  • Xi'an, 710082

Please bring a form of ID (e.g., license) for admission. If you are not a Chinese citizen, you must bring your passport.