We are witnessing great progress in the direct imaging detection of extrasolar planets and circumstellar disks. The complexity, rapid pace and focus of research naturally compartmentalizes different efforts, even though the sharing of experiences may be mutually beneficial. We are therefore motivated to design an international conference that will bring together various groups. The primary theme of synergy between technical innovation and science breakthrough is symbolized by Bernard Lyot, inventor of the coronagraph.
Our goal is to create an environment that will bring together instrumentalists and research astronomers who might naturally attend separate conferences. The conference will produce rare opportunities for synergy and cross-fertilization between current ground-based high-contrast programs (GDPS, LYOT, & NICI), planned extreme AO programs (GPI & VLT-SPHERE) and future telescopes (TMT, JWST, TPF).