Ninth International Conference on the Simulation and Synthesis of Living Systems (ALIFE9)

Boston, Massachusetts

September 12-15th 2004

Call for Papers
Program Committee
Keynote Speakers


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Artwork by Dr. Cliff Pickover used by permission




Self-Organization and Development in Artificial and Natural Systems (SODANS) 2004

Submission deadline is July 2nd, 2004

Chair: Sanjeev Kumar


“The development of multicellular organisms from a single cell - the fertilized egg - is a brilliant triumph of evolution. During embryonic development the egg divides to give rise to many millions of cells, which form structures as complex and varied as eyes, arms, the heart, and the brain. This amazing achievement raises a multitude of questions. How do they become organized into structures such as limbs and brains? What controls the behavior of individual cells so that such highly organized patterns emerge? How are the organizing principles of development embedded within the egg and in particular within the genetic material - DNA?” [Wolpert, 2001]

Artificial life and developmental biology overlap on some quite important topics. One obvious topic is that of construction. Constructing robust complex adaptive systems in a self-organizing manner is a notoriously difficult problem. The quote above summarizes the incredible self-organization that occurs during biological development, it also poses questions that could easily reflect much new research that is emerging under the banner of artificial life.

In recent years, researchers have been investigating methods of construction that overcome fundamental issues of adaptation, evolvability, genotype-phenotype mappings, scalability, modularity, self-organization, and self-repair. One method seen as a potential solution to such problems, and which is inspired by biological development, is computational development. Emerging research is highlighting important benefits of using computational models of development for building complex systems that address these fundamental issues. This workshop focuses on development and self-organizing principles that lead to the emergence of complex systems. The workshop also welcomes submissions from biologists on relevant biology that may help shed more light on self-organizing principles for artificial life. Real world applications of development are strongly encouraged.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

Genotype-phenotype mappings
Genetic representations for self-organization and development
Pattern formation, morphogenesis, differentiation, growth
Models of development for complex system construction
Models of genetic regulatory networks
Genetic regulatory networks for control
Models of cells, proteins, and chemistries
Modularity, segmentation and compartmentalization
Scalability & Evolvability of developmental processes
Robustness, self-repair and regeneration in developmental processes
Reaction diffusion systems
Single cell and multicellular developmental systems
Models of development and environmental interactions
Real world applications of developmental principles
Relationship between evolution and development
The evolution of development, multicellularity and segmentation

Important Dates

Papers Due: July 2, 2004
Acceptance notices: July 10, 2004
Camera Ready: August 1, 2004
Workshop: September 12, 2004

Workshop Format

Invited talks
Submitted paper presentations

One of the main aims of this workshop is to bring together researchers from a wide range of disciplines in order to discuss the potential of developmental systems as well as fundamental issues with their design and use. It is hoped that through fruitful discussion and debate that such workshops will help to guide the progression of computational development.


A full day workshop on Self-Organization and Development in Artificial and Natural Systems is to be held on Sunday 12th September. Proceedings will be produced with a camera-ready deadline of 1st August.

Please send electronic submissions to:

Sanjeev Kumar
kumars @ cs . gmu. edu (blanks for robots)
Krasnow Institute for Advanced Studies
George Mason University
Fairfax, Virgina, 22030, USA

Review Committee

Peter Bentley
Josh Bongard
Peter Eggenberger
Ivan Garibay
Sanjeev Kumar
Bill Langdon
Julian Miller
Chrystopher Nehaniv
Tom Quick
Piet van Remortel
Gunnar Tufte

Submission Details

Submissions length 4 pages in PDF or postscript formats, see for paper formatting instructions and templates

Workshop web-page: