PosterECAL 2011
8-12 August 2011

Satellite Workshops

>> For a complete overview of the conference schedule, go to the Program page. <<

Monday 8 August, 09:00-13:00

Monday 8 August, 14:30-18:30

Friday 12 August, 13:30-17:30

The ECAL 2011 conference is pleased to give artificial life researchers the opportunity to organize satellite workshops and tutorials in two “bookend” sessions, on the first day (Monday 8 August) and last afternoon (Friday 12 August). Workshops are dedicated to the same general topics as the main conference, while allowing for more focused interactions among participants.

The internal organization of the satellite workshops and tutorials (website, paper submission, invited talks, proceedings, all deadlines except registration) is entirely left up to their respective organizers. ECAL provides the onsite logistics (seminar rooms, projectors, coffee breaks, and lunch boxes) and links from the main conference website (see below). All other organizational issues — including separate review process and proceedings publication, if any — are taken care of by the workshop chairs. Therefore, any workshop-specific requests from participants should be exclusively addressed to them, not to the ECAL committee.

ECAL also offers attendees the possibility of a special reduced registration rate for anyone who wishes to come to these sessions only (Monday 8 and/or Friday 12 afternoon), but not to the main conference.

Workshop paper submission

>> To submit a paper to a satellite workshop, if it offers this possibility, click on the corresponding workshop link below and follow the instructions displayed on its website. Workshops organize their own deadlines, review process and proceedings publication, if any, independently from the main conference. Workshop contributions (whether reviewed or invited, full papers or abstracts) will not be part of the ECAL 2011 proceedings with MIT Press. <<



Alife Approaches to Artificial Language Evolution

AAALE discusses operational experiments in cultural artificial language evolution with embodied agents (primarily humanoid robots). Such experiments have recently reached a new level of maturity thanks to significant progress in humanoid robotics, the availability of language technologies supporting constantly evolving grammars and embodied cognitive semantics, and new insights into semiotic dynamics and cultural evolution from a complex systems point of view. The topic of language evolution has been part of Alife and SAB conferences from the very beginning, simply because language evolution is one of the most outstanding puzzles of evolutionary biology and a challenging case study of cultural evolution. Moreover, performing experiments with robots in grounded language evolution poses enormous challenges for Alife approaches to robotics. This is the first workshop ever that focuses specifically on Alife approaches to Artificial Language Evolution.
 Gulb    Monday 8 August, 09:00-13:00 & 14:30-18:30 


1st COBRA Workshop on Biological and Chemical Information Technologies

BioChemIT will provide a forum to present and discuss the latest advances of Bio/Chem IT research. The workshop should foster the interaction, exchange, and communication between Bio/Chem IT research groups and projects. It should contribute to building a scientific community and providing input for a strategy and vision of Bio/Chem IT. Topics: biological/chemical information technologies; molecular and chemical computing; protocells and synthetic cells; molecular robots; integration of information processing with (bio-)chemical production; nano-bio-info interface; cellular engineering, artificial neurons, and programmable information chemistry; unconventional computing substrates.
 Cam    Monday 8 August, 09:00-13:00 & 14:30-18:30 


4th Workshop on Complex Systems Modelling and Simulation

CoSMoS 2011 will be the fourth in a series of workshops that provide a forum for research examining all aspects of the modelling and simulation of complex systems. This year, we will place a special focus on how complex systems simulations can begin to approach the scale of real-world complex systems. We will accept both full papers (for oral presentation) and abstracts (for poster presentation), which will be peer-reviewed. We will also have at least one invited speaker, and a panel discussion to close the workshop. As for the previous 3 workshops in the series, accepted papers and abstracts will appear in proceedings published by Luniver Press. Contributing authors and the first 40 attendees will receive a copy of the proceedings free of charge.
 Weil    Monday 8 August, 09:00-13:00 & 14:30-18:30 


Workshop on Artificial Autonomy: 20 years of practice of autonomous systems

Autonomy is a system’s capacity to produce, sustain and regulate itself and its relationship with the environment it co-determines. WAAT will evaluate 20 years of practice of autonomous systems, from the first ECAL (1991) until today, and review the state of the art, future challenges and research milestones. The notions of autonomy, autopoiesis, emergence, enaction, etc., have played a central role in Artificial Life but have also experienced a relative displacement as the field has made progress in more specific and specialized research fields (from network topology to ant intelligence, from evolutionary robotics to multicellular development). We believe that increasingly specialized trends in Alife should also be compensated with renewed attempts for integrative approaches. In this sense, reviewing and recovering the visionary and pioneering notion of autonomy 20 years later provides a challenging opportunity to re-assemble Artificial Life back into the organism-centered, emergent, holistic yet mathematically and conceptually mature notion of autonomy.
 Argt    Monday 8 August, 09:00-13:00 & 14:30-18:30 

ACCS  Tutorial  

Artificial Chemical Computing Systems

The theme of the ACCS tutorial, Artificial Chemistry (AChem), is a research approach that implements Alife systems by taking inspiration from bio-chemical systems. In a typical AChem study, we model the behavior of biological molecules, but unlike MD (molecular dynamics) or systems biology, we minimize the computational cost by dramatically simplifying the model, and try to make self-organizing phenomena happen in a computer. Self-organization is one of the most distinctive features of bio-molecular systems, and with this AChem’s approach, we can take one of the most promising pathways towards the design of computational systems with emergent characteristics. The first half of this tutorial summarizes the fundamental methodology for the AChem design. After prerequisite conditions for a typical AChem system are presented, the chemical reaction’s rate constants are formulated under the gas and liquid phases. In the latter half of the lecture, we we take three representative AChem systems, CGA, NAC, and ATN, and see how chemical approach makes those systems rich from the computational point of view.
 Sats    Monday 8 August, 09:00-13:00 


Workshop on the Design, Simulation, Construction and Testing of Synthetic Gene Regulatory Networks for Computation, Control and Communications

SynBioCCC will be the first workshop on synthetic biology in ECAL, and it aims at providing a forum for electrical and computer science/engineering researchers, who wish to be introduced to, or present their own work in, synthetic biology. This year, we will place a special focus on the three C’s (Computing, Control & Communications). Topics: Evolutionary & automated design of gene regulatory networks (GRNs); Modeling & simulation of GRNs; Novel GRN designs for computing, control & communication; Results of implemented GRNs (in wet labs); New paradigms of computing using DNA/RNA, genes and cells.
 Nath    Monday 8 August, 09:00-13:00 
 Sats    Friday 12 August, 17:00-17:30 

RUTSAC  Tutorial  

Research Using The Stringmol Artificial Chemistry

As in an RNA World, a molecule in the Stringmol Artificial Chemistry can be both genomic and enzymic, facilitating rich interactions between the genome and the phenotype. The hands-on RUTSAC tutorial will equip attendees with the knowledge and experience necessary to set up experiments with the Stringmol Artificial Chemistry. The Stringmol system will be introduced in four stages, corresponding to four interactive tasks. Workshop attendees will participate in these tasks by running the Stringmol code and designing their own molecules via an interactive website: 1) Bootstrap design: attendees will explore molecule-molecule interactions using the web-based demonstration tool. 2) Molecular diversity in a container: moving from a single molecule design to setting up and running a simulation of a container full of molecules. 3) Container war: observing the mechanisms of container takeovers through mutation and evolution. 4) Fight to the death: finally, the attendees will pit their replicator designs against each other, to see whose molecules will win in the fight to the death for resources!
 Sats    Monday 8 August, 14:30-18:30 


System Immunology Models of Autopoesis

Artificial life ultimately is the attempt to define the basic characteristics of living systems and emulate them in novel computational and physical means. In the past, the field has been greatly influenced by thinking in the fields of computational neuroscience and molecular evolution. We suggest that the immune system and computational immunology may be better starting points in the attempt to define the core concepts of living systems. Immune dynamics are by nature multiscale, ranging from the molecular through the cellular to the systemic. As such they embody the multicellular cooperativity of second order autopoetic machines, in which local unicellular interactions without specific control lead to emergent cooperation and individual multicellular integrity. SIM-A is intended to bring together experimentalists and computational immunologists with an emphasis on what would be the best way to create a common language between the different models that have been created over the past years and insure that experimentalists are a driving force of this computational effort.
 Nath    Monday 8 August, 14:30-18:30 


Complex Systems in Sports

The main topic of CS-Sports is the intersection between complex systems and sports, for instance the application of complex networks to the description and analysis of team sports, and its application to the prediction of team performance and outcome. The workshop is addressed to computer, social and sports scientists, interested in unraveling the dynamics and emergent patterns of games in team sports. A complex systems approach can also be applied to the evolution of robots playing sports such as Robosoccer. The format is preferably peer reviewed papers, but can also include poster sessions and panel discussions. In addition, the organizers may give an introductory talk to present the main topics and current state of the art in this scope; a round table may close the workshop with brainstorming on the topic of how to apply complex systems to sports analysis and prediction.
 Nath    Friday 12 August, 13:30-17:30 


Exploring Discrete Dynamics with DDLab: From Cellular Automata to Random Networks

Discrete dynamical networks (DDN), which include cellular automata (CA) and random Boolean networks (RBN), are at the very core of complexity and emergent self-organisation, and provided the inspiration for the founding ideas of Artificial Life, notably by Chris Langton. Discrete Dynamics Lab (DDLab) is an open-source interactive graphics software able to explore a huge diversity of behaviour, space-time patterns, and basins of attraction representing the convergent flow in state-space. The latest version of DDLab is documented in the book Exploring Discrete Dynamics, which has just been published. The workshop will include a tutorial to demonstrate DDLab and try out your own experiments (please bring your laptop), and an opportunity for a 10mn presentation of your work involving DDLab. Selected papers will be published in a special issue of the Journal of Cellular Automata (JCA). See for the compiled software, source code, and documentation.
 Sats    Friday 12 August, 13:30-17:00 


First International Workshop on Integral Biomathics

Are we nearly there yet? (This is a common question asked by small children in the back of the car.) Are the definitions of what is life (Schrödinger, Varela), life itself (Rosen) and more than life itself (Louie) convergent? Did we really expect a discovery such as the arsenic-incorporated Mono lake bacteria to start redefining our concept of life? Are not life forms inevitable in the evolution of the Universe? Where is the boundary between the machine and the organism? Is there such a boundary at all? Are our theories of living and cognitive systems strong enough? Does our underlying understanding of computation and cognition, of the difference between living, non-living and synthetic systems, of sensing and action suffice for building systems that really can mimic living systems, for building systems that really can cope with the vagaries of real environments, of real sensors, and real actuators that don’t always behave quite as model systems do. Or is there a theoretical (or even not so theoretical) underlying area that is still missing? These are some of the basic questions posed by the emerging discipline of Integral Biomathics we wish to address in iBioMath’11.
 Cam    Friday 12 August, 13:30-17:30 


Information Coding in Unconventional Computing Substrates

A conventional computing medium is a cleverly prepared semiconductor structure, where two different potential levels represent the logical TRUE and FALSE states. As it is well known, this approach is highly successful and modern society cannot exist without silicon-based computers. An unconventional computer, whether physical, chemical or a living substrate, solves problems in a natural way, i.e. as the result of the time evolution that proceeds according to the laws of physics. Information coding is the translation of system state into a string belonging to a formal language. We know many types of computing medium like self-assembling nano-particles, chemical far-from-equilibrium systems, interacting microfluids or living organisms. The application of a photosensitive Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction for direct image processing is a beautiful example. INCUP aims to bring together physicists, mathematicians, chemists, biologists and engineers to discuss what the optimal representation of information for unconventional computing could be.
 Argt    Friday 12 August, 13:30-17:30 

  • Pascal Ballet
  • Marie Beurton-Aimar
  • Guillaume Hutzler
  • Bertrand Laforge


Workshop on Multi-Agent Systems in Biology at meso or macroscopic scales

Multi-agent modeling concerns the study and conception of systems composed of autonomous entities (the agents) in interaction with each other or with their environment. Multi-Agent Systems (MAS) have the capability to simulate complex phenomena and allow to design their distributed solutions by a collectivity of agents. Many domains in computer science, distributed artificial intelligence, software engineering; but also physics, mathematics and, obviously, biology are concerned by multi-agent modeling at the cellular and subcellular level. MASmms aims at organizing interactions among the members of the recently emerging MAS community that works on biological problems at meso or macroscopic scales using in silico experiments. Another aim of this workshop will be to meet European researchers involved in similar topics.
 Weil    Friday 12 August, 13:30-17:30 


3rd Morphogenetic Engineering Workshop

On the one hand, phenomena of spontaneous pattern formation are generally random and repetitive, whereas, on the other hand, complicated heterogeneous architectures are the product of human design. Biological organisms are rather unique examples of natural systems that are both self-organized and architectured. Can we export their precise self-formation capabilities to technological systems? To address this issue, MEW 2011 proposes a new field of research called “Morphogenetic Engineering”, which explores the artificial design and implementation of autonomous systems capable of developing complex, heterogeneous morphologies. Particular emphasis is set on the programmability and controllability of self-organization, properties that are often underappreciated in complex systems science—while, conversely, the benefits of self-organization are often underappreciated in engineering methodologies.
 Gulb    Friday 12 August, 13:30-17:30