Workshops

6th International Workshop on Agent-Based Modelling of Human Behaviour (ABMHuB'24)

This workshop aims to bring together researchers in agent-based modelling who are interested in using agent-based modelling to understand human behaviour. It is a combination of agent-based modelling and behavioural science, which is a new and growing area of research. Our first ABMHuB workshop, ABMHuB’19 in ALIFE 2019, had 50 participants, our second workshop ABMHuB’20 in ALIFE 2020, had 80 participants, and 3rd workshop ABMHuB’21 in ALIFE 2021, 4th workshop ABMHuB'22 in ALIFE 2022 and 5th workshop ABMHuB'23 were equally well received.

Agent-based modelling has a long history of success in many related fields from economics and cooperative behaviours, to social conflict, civil violence and revolution. However, its use remains very limited in studies of how human interaction is affected by more complex aspects of human behaviour, such as personality, emotional state and conflict.

In the fields of Alife, Evolutionary Computing and Agent-Based Simulation, researchers have modelled various aspects of ecosystems such as evolutionary dynamics within interacting populations. Classic works in this area include studies by Axelrod and Hamilton on the evolution of cooperation and Maynard Smith and Price on conflicts between animals of the same species. More recently, Holland created Echo, a generic ecosystem model in which evolving agents are situated in a resource-limited environment.

The motivation behind this work is to address some of the significant issues in psychological research today. Human experimentation can create ethical issues and has been increasingly difficult to conduct, making it more difficult to progress our understanding in the area. Alife models offer the capability to create realistic laboratories for which to conduct such experiments. A workshop in this area can encourage Artificial Life practitioners to use behavioural modelling to assess, challenge or even replace competing theories of human behaviour. We anticipate that by introducing rigorous computational modelling to this contentious area, it will help strengthen the field of psychology and related human behavioural sciences.

The workshop seeks to bring together ideas, approaches, concepts, and perspectives from agent-based modelling and human social systems. The aim of the workshop is to bring together researchers from these connected fields, to engage across the disciplines, to inform of latest findings, to transfer discoveries and concepts from one field to another, and to inspire new ideas and new collaborations across the theme. Contributions will be invited in the following areas:

  • Agent-based modelling of human behaviour and organisational behaviour
  • ALife models of individual behaviour, diversity, group performance and
  • ALife models of human personality, emotions
  • ALife models of human communication, trust, conflict, and conflict resolution
  • ALife models of collaboration, cooperation, competition
  • Agent-based modelling of economic paradigms such as negotiation and bargaining, games, auctions, markets
  • Agent-based modelling of location behaviour, spatial patterns, geographical systems, urban evacuation, driver route choices, traffic flows, transport logistics
  • Agent-based modelling of human systems such as smart grids, app stores, economies
  • ALife models of the emergent effect and propagation of communication in human systems
  • Use of agent-based modelling to evaluate or understand existing findings in behavioural science and psychology
  • Incentives, reward structures, reinforcement learning
  • Collective intelligence, teamwork, coalition, distributed problem solving
  • Social networks, socio-technical systems
  • Social simulation, interactive simulation and emergent behaviour

The overarching goal of the workshop is addressed by the following workshop objectives:

  • Provide a forum for researchers to discuss and compare their approaches
  • Enable the first interdisciplinary meeting of ALife researchers, behavioural scientists and psychologists, in order to inform and stimulate research in the area
  • Bridge the gap between research and practice
  • Establish a hub for people who are interested in furthering knowledge of human behaviour through ALife modelling.

Organizers

  • Dr. Soo Ling Lim (University College London)
  • Prof. Peter J. Bentley (University College London)

The evolution of things

The topic of the workshop is the science and technology of evolving and learning machines.

The long-term vision behind it is to have populations of machines “developing themselves” through evolution and learning in the real-world. The workshop will address (the feasibility of) the long term vision and potential applications, key technical challenges, as well as possible dangers. Technical issues to be discussed include 1) the joint evolution of morphology and control, 2) integration of evolution and lifetime learning, and 3) the physical incarnation of the evolving entities. Additionally, we want to pay special attention to societal aspects, including 1) potential benefits, 2) ethical concerns, and 3) co-existing natural and artificial life systems of the future. The “meta objective” of this workshop is to activate a research and development community and offer a platform for future collaboration worldwide. We expect new synergy emerging from the interaction of the targeted communities.

Organizers

  • Prof. Dr. A. E. Eiben, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Dr. Karine Miras, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Evolution, Criticality and Creativity in Collective Intelligence (ECCCI)

This workshop aims to bridge the gap between diverse disciplines and foster a rich, interdisciplinary dialogue on the burgeoning field of Collective Intelligence (CI). This year’s conference theme of “Exploring new frontiers” relating to the fundamental sciences of Artificial Life research presents the community with the perfect opportunity to explore the fundamental frontiers of CI research with experts across several disciplines grouped into three main areas: Evolution; Criticality; and Creativity in Collective Intelligence.

Collective Intelligence refers to the emergent intelligent behaviours arising from the cooperation, collaboration and other collective efforts of the many individuals in a system. It is increasingly recognized as a crucial factor in various domains, from natural ecosystems to artificial networks, and from social governance to technological innovation. This workshop will explore the intersection of evolution, criticality and creativity within collective systems, delving into how these elements influence one another in pursuit of CI.

We seek to invite a diverse group of participants, including but not limited to biologists, computer scientists, sociologists, cognitive scientists, and artists. Our aim is to attract individuals who typically do not attend ALIFE conferences, thereby injecting new perspectives and expertise into the discourse. The workshop will be structured to encourage exploring the research frontier of CI through invited talks to facilitate open and broad discussions among the participants, with a focus on the following key themes:

  • Evolution: Understanding the evolutionary processes that shape and are shaped by collective intelligence.
  • Criticality: Examining the balance between order and chaos in collective systems, and how this balance facilitates adaptation and learning.
  • Creativity: Exploring how collective systems generate novel solutions and surprising behaviours, as well as exploit notions of surprise or novelty to drive emergent behaviours.

Framing the workshop with ~2 keynote presentations, invited speakers will discuss their specialist topic and attempt to draw connections to the others within the context of CI research. Interactive sessions, including panel discussions and breakout groups, will facilitate cross-disciplinary engagement and idea exchange. Participants will have the opportunity to form discussion groups, ask questions to panellists and engage in thought-provoking debates, and discover new collaborators with which to develop future research initiatives.

Organizers

  • Kazuya Horibe (Osaka University/RIKEN Center for Brain Science, BTCC TOYOTA Collaboration Center)
  • Michael Crosscombe (University of Tokyo)

SB-AI 9. From imitative to biologically plausible synthetic models of natural cognition

The synthetic study of natural cognition targets the scientific understanding of self-regulative behaviors, in terms of cognitive processes, by constructing and experimentally exploring artificial models of them. Currently, this research horizon includes different lines of inquiry characterized by ‘bottom-up’ approaches. The main goals are two: on one side, significant deepening in the scientific description of biological cognition; on the other, the construction of artificial systems functioning and behaving like biological systems – from unicellular systems to complex organisms and related (social) aggregates.

SB-AI 9, the Ninth Edition of our Synthetic Biology and Artificial Intelligence workshop series, intends to select original contributions related to this modeling of life and cognition, in its hardware, software and, in particular, wetware expressions. The primary aim is to promote novel AI paradigms, grounded in Synthetic Biology and Artificial Life, preparing the next generation of technological artifacts expressing adaptive and communicational – “cognitive” – biological-like behaviors.

This edition of the SB-AI workshop series focuses on Org(SB-EAI), a research theme at the center of a synonymous project (Damiano, Roli, Stano, 2023-2025) which deals with ‘organizational’ approaches to Embodied AI (EAI). These can be construed as emergent approaches that concentrate on producing synthetic models of biological cognition that are relevant at the level of the biological organization. In other words: models that, instead of targeting a mere imitation of biological cognitive processes, aim at biological plausibility, by attempting to incorporate theories of the biological organization.

This 9th edition of the SB-AI workshop series, related to the Org(SB-AI) Project, aims at bringing together contributions focusing not only to the general topic of SB-AI, but also and specifically to the Org(SB-EAI) research theme, and investigating one or more aspects of the (possible/actual) relationships between the synthetic approach to biology and EAI.

Organizers

  • Pasquale Stano (University of Salento, Italy)
  • Luisa Damiano (Università IULM, Italy)
  • Yutetsu Kuruma (JAMSTEC, Japan)

Molecular Communication Approaches for Wetware Artificial Life

Recent advancements in systems and synthetic biology constitute the premises for the realization of the wetware approach to Artificial Life (AL), in addition to hardware and software ones. Developing AL systems in the wetware domains implies the use of chemical and biological materials to construct tools, devices, systems capable of displaying life-like behaviors such as growth, division, adaptation, plasticity, evolution, autonomy, and other bio-inspired patterns.

It should be recognized that the necessary use of (bio)chemicals and networks of reactions just referring to thermodynamic and kinetic laws only partially fulfills the rather complex task of devising systems that significantly contribute to AL. Among the additional conceptual tools to be involved in this enterprise, we identified information and communication theories and models that have been specifically developed (or are under development) to face the specific nature of the chemical domain.

The combination of areas such as synthetic biology, systems chemistry, theories about chemical networks and chemical organization have impacted on AL, as often reported within the AL community. On the other hand, the exploration of the so-called “bio-chem-ICTs” (bio-chem-Information and Communication Technologies), and the theories behind them, has received - to date - limited attention.

The aims of this Workshop are about filling this gap, providing an arena for discussing how contemporary interests in chemical information and chemical communication can converge with AL scopes, especially referred to synthetic biology and systems chemistry approaches. The field of “Molecular Communications”, recently developed from a engineering perspectives, can provide valuable tools for achieving higher degree of complexity in AL systems including (i) Synthetic/Artificial Cells or Protocells and their assemblies, and (ii) hybrid biological/artificial systems (e.g., Synthetic Cells that communicate with biological cells; hardware/software microsystems interfaced to biological systems; networks made of artificial entities and biological entities).

Organizers

  • Pasquale Stano, University of Salento, Italy
  • Michael Barros, University of Essex, UK
  • Malcom Egan, University of Lyon, France
  • Murat Kuscu, Koç University, Turkey
  • Yutetsu Kuruma, JAMSTEC, Japan
  • Takashi Nakano, University of Osaka, Japan

Hackathon: ALife, Music & the Visual Arts

This workshop delves into the fascinating intersection of artificial intelligence, biology, complex systems, and the performing arts. The participants will co-create a AV sound performance which would be showcased at the closing party on Friday. Structured as a mini-hackathon, it is aimed to be highly interactive, collaborative and hands on.

Participants will engage in critical discussions and hands-on experiments focused on integrating forms of artificial agency and life into performance contexts and artistic expressions. This includes, but is not limited to, the incorporation of AI agents and complex systems into a performative setting, manifested through sound and visuals.

The workshop will adhere to a typical hackathon structure, beginning with an introduction, followed by project pitches, team formation, and project development. The goal is to allow participants some time to develop early prototypes within the three-hour timeframe in teams. Participants could further refine this prototype, before the final showcase, at their will.

The objective of the workshop is also to serve as an incubator for innovative ideas, where technology and creativity intersect to foster unique performances. Emphasis will be placed on experimentation and open-ended collaboration, with as final highlight the co-creation of a performance.

Participants are encouraged to bring any prior experience with sound or visual elements and ideas for project pitches, although all interested individuals are welcome to join the experiment even without prior ideas.

As a side note, Alexander Mordvintsev’s swissGL tutorial may be a valuable resource for participants to utilize in preparation for the workshop.

Organizers

  • Elias Najarro (ITU)
  • Claire Glanois (ITU)

Emerging Researchers in Artificial Life

The scope of this workshop is to bring together as many emerging researchers as possible, offering a space to network and socialize.

The organizers give an inclusive definition of “emerging researchers”: anybody expressing interest in Artificial life and seeing themselves as such fits into the category. These mostly include, but are not limited to, Ph.D. students, Post-Doc researchers, engineers and independent researchers.

The workshop will run in two separate sessions and receive four kinds of contributions (Informational Session, Career in Alife, Invited talks, Lighting talks). Some activities will be spread across both Session A and Session B:

  • Session A (90 minutes):
    • Informational session (15 min in total), about ERA and its activities,
    • Career in Alife (1st session) (40 min in total, 15-30 min per presentation including questions). Talks from invited senior researchers. This session is focused on guiding early career researchers into research and industry fields. Showing a possible career in Artificial Life and how its paradigms can be applied to other fields.
    • Lightning talks (1st session), i.e., short presentations (35 min in total, 5-10 minutes each, including questions) contributed voluntarily. Speakers introduce themselves and their research activity; topics include, but are not limited to, anything falling within the scope of the broader conference. The goal of a lightning talk is to put the spotlight on the speaker and spread awareness about their research activity.
  • Session B (60-90 minutes):
    • Invited talk from the recipient of the 2023 ISAL Student Prize (30 minutes, including questions),
    • Career in Alife (2nd session) (30 min in total),
    • Lightning talks (2nd session) (30 min in total).

We plan both sessions as hybrid sessions. Submissions for talks will be open to both in-person and online attendees. Information on the volunteered talks will be collected on a publicly available website.

Organizers

  • Piotr Walas, Independent, walas.piotr@outlook.com (contact person)
  • Federico Pigozzi, Independent, pigozzife@gmail.com
  • Fernando Rodriguez Vergara, University of Sussex, f.rodriguez-vergara@sussex.ac.uk
  • Imy Khan, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, imran.khan@ait.gu.se
  • Ane Kristine Espeseth, Seoul National University, ane.espeseth@gmail.com
  • Lio Hong, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd. (Publisher is not represented by ERA activities), hongfhjulio@gmail.com
  • Gabriel J. Severino Cognitive Science Program, Indiana University Bloomington, gjseveri@iu.edu

ALife in Organizations

The mismatch between economic theory and the state of the world arguably thrives on the behavioral divergence between the classic rational decision-maker and the affectively biased (and predictably irrational) actual human players. Over the years, agent-based models have incorporated cognitive/affective elements and allowed a closer simulation of human-like decision-making. Indeed, such effects play a pivotal role in the dynamics of smaller-scale organizations as well as large economies

Since 1987, the ALife community has increasingly showcased a variety of transdisciplinary methods for the synthesis, simulation, and analysis of complex systems, often extending over different time and spatial scales (e.g. ranging from individual reactive behaviors to the evolution of extensive ecological systems). In parallel, a sequence of severe crises bears witness to the descriptive limits of the theoretical infrastructure of contemporary economics. How can Artificial Life bridge the gap between theory and reality?

The scope of the workshop includes, although it is not limited to, the following exemplary questions:

  • Can the methods of Artificial Life (e.g. the simulation and analysis of relatively complex ecologies) contribute to better representing cognitive and affective aspects within social or socio-technical organizations, the individuals who constitute them, or the ones who use their services?
  • Can synergies between modeling techniques and machine-learning-enhanced analysis promote efficient and effective allocation and use of resources by complex organizations that operate in industry, management, public administration, public health, etc.?
  • Can modeling complex organizations in a globalized market identify the conditions for the emergence of dynamics such as competition, deception, collaboration, solidarity, diversity, etc., and evaluate their impact on the well-being of its symbiotic constitutive members and service users?
  • Can systems thinking, support globally sustainable operations?
  • Can we test innovative organizational and economic models for a more balanced and ethically sound society?

Call for papers

We invite all contributions aligned to the workshop's theme. Original research, summary of published results, and position papers are welcome.

Submissions should have the form of extended abstracts (maximum two pages) or research articles (maximum six pages). If your contribution summarizes previous results, please specify that in your submission.

Upon your permission, all accepted contributions will be available in electronic format. Perspectively, we will negotiate a special issue in partnership with a reputable academic journal to host extended versions of selected contributions.

Please submit your contribution to: alifeinorg@gmail.com

Organizers

  • Alberto Montebelli (alberto.montebelli@gmail.com | AIT, University of Gothenburg)
  • Gary Linnéusson (gary.linneusson@his.se | Scool of Engineering, University of Skövde)

Making Time: Temporality in natural and artificial systems

Recent advances in cognitive and biological research have deepened our understanding on many subjects, while forcing us to re-examine others that had for a long time been considered too conceptually tangled to be of relevance to practical advances in day-to-day scientific research.

Among such issues, the subjective experience of the present (“present-time consciousness”) and its relation to adaptive processes is one where – despite there still being much work to be done – the cognitive and life sciences appear to be seeing a gradual conceptual convergence.

The goal of this two-part workshop is to encourage the Artificial Life community to capitalise on this rare trend towards conceptual re-alignment with substantive progress towards practical and implementable output, by drawing together its multiple research directions.

Workshop 1 pulls together recent work on present-time consciousness from a cognitive, neurobiological, and phenomenological perspective. We intend to open with either a guided meditation or micro-phenomenological reduction on the experience of the present, before addressing developments of post-Husserlian models of such experiences as constituted by the perpetual unfolding of protentive and retentive dynamics, followed by a review of the empirical evidence regarding their possible biological bases.

Workshop 2 considers approaches to simulating and engineering artificial agents endowed with such temporality. Whereas phenomenological accounts of temporality were traditionally considered anathema to computational, qua discretised approaches, the computational phenomenology proposed from within active inference demands a re-examination of this assumption, and the dynamicist modelling framework that long harboured it. From here, we address the question of whether a successful model of either kind could serve as either a necessary or sufficient step towards the actual creation of systems that can be literally said to possess a temporal inner dimension of the sort at stake.

Organizers

  • Adam Rostowski, School of Informatics, University of Sussex
  • Fernando Rodriguez, AI Research Group, University of Sussex

ALife Encyclopedia Hackathon

The goal of the ALife encyclopedia project is to build a collection of resources on the ALife webiste. Such resources would help generate increased interest in ALife research, make onboarding new students easier, and facilitate the sharing of ALife software. This workshop has been offered at the past three ALife conferences to solicit submissions and grow the set of articles currently in the encyclopedia.

The workshop will be structured as follows. First, there will be a brief introduction to the goals of the workshop and the practicalities of contributing to the workshop (including getting everyone set up as a contributor). Next, we will collectively brainstorm resource pages that the site should ideally have and select some to prioritize in this workshop. Then participants will break into small groups based on which pages they are interested in working on. In these groups, participants will generate an outline for the page on their selected topic and then begin the process of writing the body of the page. Participants not actively writing will be encouraged to peruse other groups’ outlines and suggest any additions they think are appropriate. As groups finish writing the text of their page, they will exchange their work with other groups to receive feedback. After the workshop, other conference attendees will also be encouraged to read over the new web pages and make suggestions on how to further improve them.

The workshop will be structured as follows. First, there will be a brief introduction to the goals of the workshop and the practicalities of contributing to the workshop (including getting everyone set up as a contributor). Next, we will collectively brainstorm resource pages that the site should ideally have and select some to prioritize in this workshop. Then participants will break into small groups based on which pages they are interested in working on. In these groups, participants will generate an outline for the page on their selected topic and then begin the process of writing the body of the page. Participants not actively writing will be encouraged to peruse other groups’ outlines and suggest any additions they think are appropriate. As groups finish writing the text of their page, they will exchange their work with other groups to receive feedback. After the workshop, other conference attendees will also be encouraged to read over the new web pages and make suggestions on how to further improve them.

This workshop will produce a set of web resources that the entire community can agree on, substantially improving the web presence of Artificial Life. Moreover, by introducing ALifers to the process of contributing to the website, it will hopefully lead to continued contributions even after the conference is over.

Organizers

  • Emily Dolson, Michigan State University

Goal-Directed behavior in life and non-life

Living organisms appear to exhibit “goal-directed behavior”, i.e. they appear to act in order to achieve goals. Goals include intrinsic goals like persistence and growth as well as more mundane things like “more ice cream”. A typical example is a chemotactic bacterium, which survives by sensing and moving toward food in its environment. However, currently, there is no established theory expressing:

  • How the established models of matter used in physics and chemistry can give rise to phenomena / structures / systems / individuals for which it can be decided whether they appear or are goal-directed.
  • What exactly it means to appear or be goal-directed i.e. how to decide for a given phenomenon / structure / system / individual whether it appears or is goal-directed.
  • How goal-directedness is connected to life / artificial life and the origin of life / artificial life in particular.
  • How goal-directedness is connected to thermodynamics / statistical physics.

Such a theory would help understand the gap between the seemingly purposeless universe of nonliving matter and the goal-filled world of life. This workshop will invite the wider artificial life community to revisit and share current views on the questions above. We are particularly interested in work starting out from dynamical systems including artificial physics and chemistries (cellular automata, reaction diffusion systems, chemical reaction networks) as models of matter, however all work relevant to the above questions will be considered. We will also explicitly invite arguments against the importance of goal-directed behavior in order to make sure such perspectives aren’t ignored.

Generally, we will favor contributions relying on well defined concepts over informal perspectives but we will make exceptions for interesting and novel takes.

We are planning to invite speakers, call for abstracts and if time permits, have an open or panel discussion following the talks.

Organizers

  • Martin Biehl, Cross Labs, Cross Compass
  • Richard Löffler, University of Copenhagen
  • Miguel Aguilera, Basque Center for Applied Mathematics
  • Omer Markovitch, Blue Marble Space Institute of Science
  • Artemy Kolchinsky, Universitat Pompeu Fabra
  • Manuel Baltieri, Araya Inc.

CHEMALIFORMS IV: The Fourth Workshop on Chemistry and Artificial Life Forms

The workshop “CHEMALIFORMS IV: The Fourth Workshop on Chemistry and Artificial Life Forms” will focus on the life-like forms created in laboratory using chemical and biochemical materials.

Topics:

  • Wet artificial life
  • Synthetic biology
  • Origin of life
  • Protocells
  • Droplets
  • Chemobrionics
  • Messy chemistry

Organizers

  • Jitka Čejková - University of Chemistry and Technology Prague, Czech Republic
  • Richard Löffler - Globe Institute, Copenhagen University, Denmark
  • Steen Rasmussen - University of Southern Denmark, Denmark

Nature Inspired Simulation and Visualization of Complex Networks

This workshop will provide the space for researchers in complex network simulation, visualization, and analysis to share and deepen ideas about their ongoing research. Of particular topical interest will be contributions that combine nature inspired elements and A-life methodologies (such as simulated model organisms, emergent systems, metaheuristics) with particular applied use cases for the resulting methodology (i.e., where the presented methodology is used to solve a stated problem in a target domain).

The workshop will be open and inclusive: we welcome all levels of experience and state of completion of the presented project or ideas. The contributions might likewise have any form, for instance a short 5-minute talk, full talk with a positional paper, paper without a talk, or a creative activity that involves audience members - we will leave this up to the contributors in the submission phase and curate the submissions to create a diverse and attractive program.

Organizers

  • Oskar Elek, University of California in Santa Cruz
  • Angus Forbes, Purdue University
  • Tarin Ziyaee, CEO at Stealth