PosterECAL 2011
PARIS
8-12 August 2011

Refocusing on biology and complex systems

Back then, in the early 1990's, the first two ECAL conferences in Paris and Brussels were mainly centered on theoretical biology and the physics of complex systems. Today, we feel that Alife can look back on these origins and take more inspiration from new developments at the intersection between computer science and theoretical biology—thus it is our wish to refocus the conference on complex biological systems. Closing a loop, this ECAL will mark the 20th anniversary of the 1st ECAL and will be framed as a tribute to the late Francisco Varela, co-organizer in 1991 with two of this year's committee members (Paul Bourgine, CREA, and Hugues Bersini, IRIDIA).

Artificial Life is an interdisciplinary undertaking that investigates the fundamental properties of living systems through the simulation and synthesis of biological entities and processes. It also attempts to design and build systems that display properties of organisms, or societies of organisms, out of abiotic or virtual parts. ECAL, the European Conference on Artificial Life, is a biennial event that alternates with the US-based Alife conference series.

A new body of disciplines

Over the past two decades, biological knowledge has grown at an unprecedented rate, giving rise to new disciplines such as systems biology — testimony of the striking progress of modeling and quantitative methods across the field. During the same period, highly speculative ideas have matured, and entire conferences and journals are now devoted to them. Synthesizing artificial cells, simulating large-scale biological networks, storing and making intelligent use of an exponentially growing amount of data (e.g., microarrays), exploiting biological substrates for computation and control, and deploying bio-inspired engineering are all cutting-edge topics today.

Life itself

ECAL 2011 will leverage the remarkable development of biological modeling and extend the topics of Artificial Life to the fundamental properties of living organisms: their multiscale pattern-forming morphodynamics, their autopoiesis, robustness, capacity to self-repair, cognitive capacities, and co-adaptation at all levels, including ecological ones. ECAL 2011 will bring together a large interdisciplinary community of biologists, computer scientists, physicists, and mathematicians. It will invite them to reflect on how traditional boundaries between disciplines have become blurred, and to revisit in depth what constitutes “life”.

Topics

Papers are welcome in all areas of Artificial Life, including, but not limited to:

  • (Chemical) Self-Assembly & Complexity
  • Artificial Chemistries
  • Biological & Chemical Information Processing and Production
  • Biosemiotics
  • Complex Networks
  • Emergent Engineering
  • Evolutionary & Learning Dynamics
  • Minimal (Bottom up) Synthetic Cells
  • Minimal Cognition & Physical Intelligence
  • Mixed Living (Technology) Systems
  • Modular Robotics
  • Morphogenesis, Generative & Developmental Systems
  • Multilevel Ecologies
  • Organizations & Collective Intelligence
  • Origins of Life
  • Philosophy of Artificial Life & Living Technology
  • Protocellular Energetics & Metabolic Networks
  • Robotic Energy Autonomy
  • Robotic Self-Assembly
  • Socio-Technical Systems
  • Swarm Intelligence
  • Systems Biology
  • Theoretical & Computational Frameworks
  • Top-Down Artificial Cells

Authors are encouraged to explain how their work sheds light on the fundamental properties of living systems and makes progress on the important open questions identified during previous meetings.