INRIA Neil Bruce    Neil D. B. Bruce
NeuroMathComp Research Group
Sophia Antipolis








I am currently a postdoc working at INRIA Sophia Antipolis as a member of the NeuroMathComp research group. I completed a Ph.D. in the department of Computer Science and Engineering in 2008 as a member of the Centre for Vision Research at York University, Toronto, Canada. In 2003, I completed a M.A.Sc in System Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo, and received an Honours B.Sc. with a double major in Computer Science and Mathematics from the University of Guelph in 2001. My current research interests include a variety of topics in human and machine vision including but not limited to computational neuroscience, visual attention, natural image statistics, statistical and Bayesian approaches, information theory, computer vision and machine learning. 


Fully Refereed

Bruce, N.D.B., Tsotsos, J.K., Saliency, Attention, and Visual Search: An Information Theoretic Approach, Journal of Vision 9:3, p1-24, 2009,, doi:10.1167/9.3.5.

Tsotsos, J.K., Bruce, N.D.B., Computational foundations for attentive processes, Scholarpedia 3(12):6545, 2008.

Loach, D., Frischen, A., Bruce, N.D.B., Tsotsos, J.K., An attentional mechanism for selecting appropriate actions afforded by graspable objects, Psychological Science 19(12), p 1253-1257, 2008. link

Bruce, N.D.B., Tsotsos, J.K., Spatiotemporal Saliency: Towards a Hierarchical Representation of Visual Saliency, 5th Int. Workshop on Attention in Cognitive Systems, Santorini Greece, May 12, 2008. Selected for oral presentation pdf

Bruce, N.D.B., Loach, D., Tsotsos, J.K., Visual Correlates Of Fixation Selection: A Look At The Spatial Frequency Domain, IEEE Int. Conf. on Image Processing, San Antonio, Sept. 16-19, 2007. pdf

Bruce, N.D.B., Tsotsos, J.K., An Information Theoretic Model of Saliency and Visual Search, L. Paletta and E. Rome (Eds.): WAPCV 2007, LNAI 4840, pp. 171183, 2007. Selected for oral presentation pdf

Bruce, N.D.B., Tsotsos, J.K., Saliency Based on Information Maximization. Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems, 18, pp. 155-162, June 2006. Selected for oral presentation pdf

Bruce, N.D.B., Tsotsos, J.K., A Statistical Basis for Visual Field Anisotropies. Neurocomputing, v. 69:10-12, pp. 1301-1304, June 2006.  pdf

Bruce, N.D.B., Tsotsos, J.K., An Attentional Framework for Stereo Vision, In Proceedings of the 2nd Canadian Conference on Computer and Robot Vision, Victoria, BC, 2005. Selected for oral presentation pdf

Bruce, N.D.B., Features that draw visual attention: An information theoretic perspective. Neurocomputing, v. 65-66, pp. 125-133, May 2005.  pdf

Bruce, N.D.B., Image analysis through local information measures. In Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Pattern Recognition, Cambridge, UK, 2004.  pdf

Bruce, N.D.B., Jernigan, M.E. Evolutionary Design of Context-Free Attentional Operators. In Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Image Processing, Barcelona, Spain, 2003.   pdf

Zelek, J.S., Bruce, N.D.B., Kanwar, R. Automated Monitoring of Pigs from Afar. In Proceedings Vision Interface 2000, pp. 166-173, Montreal, QC, 2000.  pdf

Theses, Book Chapters and Technical Reports

Bruce, N.D.B., Saliency, Attention and Visual Search: An Information Theoretic Approach, Ph.D. Thesis, York University, 2008. pdf

Bruce, N.D.B., Tsotsos, J.K., A Connectionist Perspective on Laterality in Visual Attention, York University, Department of Computer Science, Technical Report, March 2005. pdf

Tombu, M., Bruce, N.D.B., Rothenstein, A., Tsotsos, J.K. A Brief Tour of This Volume, Neurobiology of Attention, Ed. by L. Itti, G. Rees, J.K. Tsotsos, Elsevier/Academic Press, 2004. link

Bruce, N.D.B. Evolutionary Design for Computational Visual Attention. M.A.Sc. Thesis, University of Waterloo, 2003. pdf

Abstracts, Posters and Invited Talks

Bruce, N.D.B., On the use of Shannon information and Bayesian surprise in modeling attention, Models and Mechanisms of Visual Attention: A Critical Appraisal, Workshop at the Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS), 2007. Invited Talk

Bruce, N.D.B., Tsotsos, J.K., Attention based on information maximization. Journal of Vision, 7(9):950a, 2007., doi:10.1167/7.9.950.

Bruce, N.D.B., Tsotsos., J.K., Attention based on Information Maximization, ICVS 2007 Workshop: From Computational Cognitive Neuroscience to Computer Vision, Bielefeld,  2007. Invited talk

Bruce, N.D.B., Tsotsos, J.K., A statistical basis for visual field anisotropies. CNS 2005, Annual Computational Neuroscience Meeting, July 17-21 2005, Madison, WI, USA. Poster

Bruce, N.D.B., Features That Draw Visual Attention An Information Theoretic Perspective. CNS 2004, Annual Computational Neuroscience Meeting, July 18-20 2004, Baltimore, MD, USA. Poster


I was one of three speakers and acted as session chair for at tutorial at ECCV 2008 entitled: Visual attention: biology, computational models, and applications. See the following link for more details.

In summer of 2005 I taught a course in C, Software Tools and UNIX:
COSC 2031: Software Tools

I have also assisted in the delivery of several courses in the capacity of a teaching assistant:

SYDE 111       Calculus I
SYDE 223       Data Structures and Algorithms *
COSC 1520     Introduction to Computer Use +
COSC 1020     Introduction to Computer Science I <
COSC 1030     Introduction to Computer Science II *
COSC 3101     Design and Analysis of Algorithms +
COSC 3121     Introduction to Numerical Computations I 
COSC 3122     Introduction to Numerical Computations II
+  Indicates I acted as a TA for this course for more than one semester
*  Indicates that the course involved the delivery of lectures
<  Indicates that the course involved teaching tutorial/lab sessions


I have been a reviewer for several peer reviewed articles for the following conferences and Journals:
International Journal of Computer Vision
Computer Vision and Image Understanding
Journal of Vision
IEEE transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics
International Conference on Artificial Neural Networks
International Workshop on Attention and Performance in Computer Vision
International Conference on Computer Vision Systems
International Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
Neurobiology of Attention (eds. Tsotsos,
Itti, Rees)


Fixation data and code are also available. The code written in MATLAB is located here: Included are a variety of learned ICA bases. Note that the code given expects a relatively low resolution image as the receptive fields are small, for a high resolution larger image, you may wish to try some larger receptive fields. Also, if you have any questions about the code, feel free to ask. To use within matlab, you should be able to simply do something along the lines of: info = AIM('21.jpg',0.5); with the parameter being a rescaling factor. It is also possible to vary a variety of parameters on both the command line and within the code itself, so feel free to experiment. There are also some comments and notes specific to psychophysics examples within one of the included files. Note that all of these bases should result in better performance than that based on the *very* small 7x7 filters used in the original NIPS paper. The eye tracking data may be found at This includes binary maps for each of the images which indicate which pixel locations were fixated in addition to the raw data. Correspondence is best addressed to See the list of my work above for papers related to the source code.

A password is required for links in this section

Research featured in a March 20, 2007 article in the Toronto Star
NSERC Post Graduate Scholarship PGSD3 (2004-2007)
Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2004-2005)
Ontario Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology (2004)
Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2003-2004)
University of Waterloo Excellence Award (2002)
NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Assistantship (1999)

To appear

Saliency based on Spatiotemporal Patterns
Predicting Saliency: The classic conjunction search
A stereo match via attention