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Paul Bourgine

Paul Bourgine is the honorary director of RNSC, the French National Network of Complex Systems, former director of the CREA laboratory at Ecole Polytechnique, and founder of the Complex Systems Institute, Paris. He is also a co-founder of the CECOIA conferences in economics and artificial intelligence (1986), the ECAL conferences in artificial life (1990), the ECCE conferences in cognitive economics (2004) and the ECCS conferences in complex systems science (2005).

Titles by This Editor

Proceedings of the First European Conference on Artificial Life

Artificial life embodies a recent and important conceptual step in modem science: asserting that the core of intelligence and cognitive abilities is the same as the capacity for living. The recent surge of interest in artificial life has pushed a whole range of engineering traditions, such as control theory and robotics, beyond classical notions of goal and planning into biologically inspired notions of viability and adaptation, situatedness and operational closure.

These proceedings serve two important functions: they address bottom-up theories of artificial intelligence and explore what can be learned from simple models such as insects about the cognitive processes and characteristic autonomy of living organisms, while also engaging researchers and philosophers in an exciting examination of the epistemological basis of this new trend.

Francisco J. Varela is Director of Research at CNRS in Paris, France. Paul Bourgine is Professor of Artificial Intelligence at CEMAGREF, Antony, France.

Topics include: Artificial Animals. Genetic Algorithms. Autonomous Systems. Emergent Behaviors. Artificial Ecologies. Immunologic Algorithms. Self-Adapting Systems. Emergent Structures. Emotion And Motivation. Neural Networks. Coevolution. Fitness Landscapes Contributors include: H. Bersini. Domenico Parisi. Rodney A. Brooks. Christopher G. Langton. S. Kauffman. J.-L. Denenbourg. Pattie Maes. John Holland. T. Smithers. H. Swefel. H. Muhlenbein.

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.

ECAL '11 leveraged this remarkable development of biological modeling and extended the topics of Artificial Life to the fundamental properties of living organisms: their multiscale patternforming morphodynamics, their autopoiesis, robustness, capacity to self-repair, cognitive capacities, and co-adaptation at all levels, including ecological ones. Bringing together a large interdisciplinary community of biologists, computer scientists, physicists, and mathematicians, the conference gave them a moment to reflect on how traditional boundaries between disciplines have become blurred, and to revisit in depth what constitutes "life."