[alife] MEW 2010

Hiroki Sayama sayama at binghamton.edu
Thu Oct 29 09:07:10 PDT 2009

*** MEW 2010: Second International Morphogenetic Engineering Workshop
*** A Special Session of
*** ANTS 2010: Seventh International Conference on Swarm Intelligence

September 8-10, 2010
Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium

*** Aim and Scope

Engineered products are generally made of a number of unique, heterogeneous
components assembled in a precise and complicated way, and work
deterministically following the specifications given by the designers. By
contrast, self-organization in natural systems (physical, biological,
ecological, social) often relies on the repetition of identical agents and
stochastic dynamics. Nontrivial behavior can emerge from relatively simple
agent rules---a fact often touted as the hallmark of complex systems.
However, most natural patterns (spots, stripes, waves, trails, clusters,
hubs, etc.) can be described with a small number of statistical variables.
They are either random or shaped by boundary conditions, but never exhibit
an intrinsic architecture like engineered products do.

One monumental exception is biological development. Morphogenetic processes
demonstrate the possibility of combining pure self-organization and
elaborate structures. Multicellular organisms are composed of segments and
parts arranged in specific ways that might resemble the devices of human
inventiveness. Yet, they entirely self-assemble in a decentralized fashion,
under the guidance of genetic and epigenetic information spontaneously
evolved over millions of years and stored in every cell. In other words,
they are examples of programmable self-organization---a concept not
sufficiently explored so far, neither in complex systems science (for the
"programmable" part), nor in traditional engineering (for the
"self-organization" part). How do biological organisms achieve morphogenetic
tasks so reliably? Can we export their self-formation capabilities to
engineered systems? What would be the principles and best practices to
create such morphogenetic systems?

This workshop aims to establish a new field of research called
"Morphogenetic Engineering", which explores the artificial design and
implementation of autonomous systems capable of developing complex,
heterogeneous morphologies without central planning or external drive.
Particular emphasis is set on the mutual relationship between
programmability/controllability and self-organization, an issue that is
often underappreciated in many disciplines.

*** Topics of Interest

Original, high-quality papers on Morphogenetic Engineering are solicited to
this workshop. Relevant topics include, but are not limited to:

* New principles of morphogenesis in artificial systems
* Swarm-based approaches to morphogenetic systems
* Programmability of self-organizing systems/self-organization of
programmable systems
* Design techniques for morphogenetic engineering
* Sensitivity to environment vs. endogenous drive
* Evolvability, by variation and selection, of morphogenetic systems
* Bio-inspiration from "evo-devo": combining evolutionary computation with
artificial development
* Applications to real-world problems (nanotechnologies, reconfigurable
robots, swarm robotics, techno-social networks, etc.) and physical

*** Paper Submission

This workshop will be held as a special session of ANTS 2010: Seventh
International Conference on Swarm Intelligence. Papers should be submitted
through the conference's online submission system. For more information, see
its website http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/ants2010

Accepted papers will be included in Conference Proceedings (very likely
published by Springer in the LNCS series) and distributed to the
participants at the conference site. The journal Swarm Intelligence will
publish a special issue with extended versions of the best research works.

*** Important Dates

Submission deadline:  February 28, 2010
Notification of acceptance:  April 30, 2010
Camera ready copy:  May 14, 2010
Conference:  September 8-10, 2010

*** Session Chairs

René Doursat, Complex Systems Institute, Paris, France

Hiroki Sayama, Binghamton University SUNY, New York

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