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René Doursat

René Doursat is a Research Associate Professor at the School of
Biomedical Engineering, Drexel University, USA, and a Research
Scientist and Former Director of the Complex Systems Institute, Paris,
France. His research areas include computational biology and
bio-inspired computing, in particular morphogenesis, morphogenetic
engineering, and complex neural dynamics.

Titles by This Editor

Proceedings of the Fourteenth International Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems

ALIFE 14, the Fourteenth International Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems, presents the current state of the art of Artificial Life—the highly interdisciplinary research area on artificially constructed living systems, including mathematical, computational, robotic, and biochemical ones. The understanding and application of such generalized forms of life, or “life as it could be,” have been producing significant contributions to various fields of science and engineering.

This volume contains papers that were accepted through rigorous peer reviews for presentations at the ALIFE 14 conference. The topics covered in this volume include: Evolutionary Dynamics; Artificial Evolutionary Ecosystems; Robot and Agent Behavior; Soft Robotics and Morphologies; Collective Robotics; Collective Behaviors; Social Dynamics and Evolution; Boolean Networks, Neural Networks and Machine Learning; Artificial Chemistries, Cellular Automata and Self-Organizing Systems; In-Vitro and In-Vivo Systems; Evolutionary Art, Philosophy and Entertainment; and Methodologies.

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."