PosterECAL 2011
8-12 August 2011

Pioneers Panel Discussion

In addition to an exceptional selection of keynote speakers, the ECAL 2011 organizing committee is also thrilled to announce a 2-hour panel discussion involving several internationally renown pioneers of Artificial Life. They will talk about the most impressive achievements of Alife in the past, since inception of the field, and point to what they think are the most promising research directions for the future.

This discussion will be moderated by Hugues Bersini, Director of the IRIDIA laboratory, Université Libre de Bruxelles, and co-founder of the ECAL conference series in 1991.
 Aden    Wednesday 10 August, 18:00 


Mark Bedau

Reed College (Portland), European School of Molecular Medicine (Milan),
Initiative for Science, Society, and Policy (Denmark)

Mark Bedau pioneered the field of quantifying and comparing the evolutionary activity in artificial and natural systems, and is an international leader in the evolutionary design of complex biochemical systems using statistical models and prediction algorithms. Because he combines training in analytical philosophy with over a decade of experience in artificial life, he is recognized as a uniquely qualified expert in the philosophical foundations of complex adaptive systems. Mark Bedau is Editor-in-Chief of the international journal Artificial Life (published by MIT Press), he co-organized five international conference on artificial life, co-founded a start-up company, ProtoLife SRL, and co-founded the European Center for Living Technology, a research institute in Venice, Italy, that investigates theoretical and practical issues associated with living systems.

Takashi Ikegami

University of Tokyo

Takashi Ikegami is a professor at the Department of General Systems Sciences of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo, where he specializes in complex systems and artificial life. Takashi takes a computational/philosophical approach to designing artificial life, exploring issues at the margins of his discipline. He is also an arts collaborator with Keichiro Shibuya (ATAK) on making three-dimensional sound installations. Keywords: chemical computing, smart chemical agents, chemotaxis, living technology, artificial life, first cell.

Barry McMullin

Rince Research Institute, Dublin City University (DCU)

Barry McMullin‘s primary research activity is in the domain of Artificial Life. He serves on the organizing committees of both ECAL and Alife conferences, and as a member of the Editorial board of the Artificial Life journal. He has a secondary research interest in the area of Web Accessibility, engineering web sites and services to best meet the requirements of all users, specifically including those with disabilities. Between 1999 and 2004, Barry McMullin was the first DCU Dean of Teaching and Learning. In this role he was responsible for the development of a wide series of initiatives to significantly enhance the quality of the student learning experience at DCU. Barry McMullin was appointed to the rank of Associate professor at DCU in September 2010, and became Director of RINCE, a national research institute specializing in Engineering technology innovation, in February 2010.

Norman Packard

European Center for Living Technology, Venice

Norman Packard has worked in the areas of chaos, learning algorithms, predictive modeling of complex time series, statistical analysis of evolution, artificial life, and complex adaptive systems. He was co-founder of Prediction Company in 1991 and served as its CEO (1997-2003) and chairman until 2005. Norman Packard is currently working in a new scientific and business direction based on development of evolutionary chemistry in programmable microfluidic technology. Long-range applications of this technology include the fabrication artificial cells from non-living material, and their programming for useful functionality. In 2004, Norman Packard was co-founder of ProtoLife S.r.l. (Venice, Italy), which applies machine learning techniques to the design of experiments (DoE) for high throughput experiments in biotechnology. As part of the PACE project (Programmable Artificial Cell Evolution, 2004-2008), he also participated in the founding of ECLT, the European Center for Living Technology.

Steen Rasmussen

University of Southern Denmark, Odense

Steen Rasmussen is currently the Head of the Center for Fundamental Living Technology (FLinT), a Research Director at the Department for Physics and Chemistry at University of Southern Denmark, and External Research Professor at the Santa Fe Institute. He has pioneered approaches, methods, and applications for self-organizing processes in natural and artificial systems: abstract self-programmable matter, molecular dynamics (MD) lattice gas simulations for molecular self-assembly, rational and evolutionary protocell design, disaster mitigation and decision support systems based on collective intelligence, as well as novel simulations for large-scale sociotechnical systems. Steen Rasmussen was heading the Protocell Assembly (LDRD-DR) project and the Astrobiology program (origins of life) at Los Alamos, developing experimental and computational protocells and cell-like entities. He also co-directed the European PACE project (Programmable Artificial Cell Evolution) project.

Luc Steels

Free University of Brussels and
Sony Computer Science Lab, Paris

Luc Steels is professor of Computer Science (at the moment part-time) at the Free University of Brussels (VUB), founder and director (since 1983) of the VUB Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and co-founder and chairman (1990-1995) of the VUB Computer Science Department. He has also been the director of Sony CSL in Paris since its creation in 1996. His scientific research interests cover the whole field of artificial intelligence, including natural language, vision, robot behavior, learning, cognitive architecture, and knowledge representation. At the moment his focus is on dialogs for humanoid robots and fundamental research into the origins of language and meaning. Current work focuses on developing the foundations of semiotic dynamics and on fluid construction grammars.

Susan Stepney

York Centre for Complex Systems Analysis, University of York

Susan Stepney leads the Non-Standard Computation research group, and is one of the instigators of the new interdisciplinary York Centre for Complex Systems Analysis. Originally a theoretical astrophysicist, she has spent the bulk of her professional career in industrial R&D (GEC-Marconi and Logica), mostly in mathematical and computational modelling, researching aspects of novel computation. She is a moderator of the UKCRC Grand Challenge 7 in Non-Classical Computation and is helping to build a conceptual meta-framework for bio-inspired computation. Current research interests also include theories of emergence and self-organising systems, and nature-inspired computational metaphors. She is the PI of the Complex Systems Modelling and Simulation project and was PI of the EIVIS novel computation cluster, rated “outstanding”. She also teaches complex biosystems simulation and is responsible for designing the new Masters course in Natural Computation at York.