The headline conference theme was “evolution in action”, along with behavior & intelligence, collective dynamics, developmental systems, synthetic biology, and the art, music & philosophy of artificial life. The meeting reflected all areas of artificial life research, including biological, computational, and engineering systems. Publications and abstracts were submitted to any of the six tracks.

Evolution in Action

Chairs: Claus Wilke and Santiago Elena

Topics: evolutionary dynamics, simulations of evolution, developmental systems, experimental evolution, viral and bacterial evolution, evolution of drug resistance

Description: In this track we reviewed contributions that threw light on evolutionary dynamics in general, including but not limited to concepts such as epistasis, pleiotropy, modularity, genotype-environment interactions, evolvability, robustness, speciation, evolution of sex, and the structure of fitness landscapes. In general, contributions illustrated the conference theme of “evolution in action”: understanding evolution as it happens and throughout time.

Behavior and Intelligence

Chair: Josh Bongard

Topics: animal behavior; evolution of cognition and intelligence; evolutionary robotics; embedded systems

Description: In this track we had contributions that studied animal and robot behavior, with the aim of understanding (from the bottom-up or the top-down) the algorithms behind animal and human decision making, as well as the conditions that give rise to complex sensory motor loops, intelligent behavior, cognition, and learning.

Collective Dynamics

Chair: Iain Couzin

Topics: group selection; evolution and stability of ecosystems; network dynamics; social dynamics; evolution of cooperation and conflict; collective motion and swarming in animals and animats

Description: This track was devoted to understanding groups of organisms, agents, or robots. Group behavior and dynamics encompasses (but is not limited to) the evolution and dynamics of cooperation, swarming, ecologies, food webs, crowd behavior, and biofilms.

Synthetic Biology

Chair: Steen Rasmussen

Topics: synthetic cells, synthetic organisms, biological engineering, artificial genetic systems, artificial chemistry, origin of life, paleogenetics

Description: Synthetic Biology encompassed a wide variety of disciplines, ranging from the construction of new gene networks to re-engineering existing ones, over the construction of alternative genetics, to the synthesis of genomes and cells, to whole organisms.

The Humanities and ALife

Chairs: Paula Gaetano Adi (Art and Music), Patrick Grim (History and Philosophy)

Topics: Art, music, history and philosophy of artificial life.

Description: This broad track encompassed work in the humanities as it makes use of, interacts with or reflects upon the scientific activities and products of artificial life research.  For art and music, this included scholarly papers or description/documentation of art pieces.  For the history and philosophy of ALife section, we encouraged submissions that focus on elucidating the history of the development of the field or that dealt with philosophical analysis of the relevant conceptual issues, as well as epistemological and ethical questions.