Scientific activity at ECLT

PACE’s technology is based on the self-organization, evolution and programmability of a particular novel artificial living system, simple artificial cells and their chemical precursors. A priority for PACE activity at the Centre is a strong connection between experimental efforts, and theoretical and simulation efforts. We envision this being a priority for the Centre as a whole ( in contrast for instance with the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico) with consistent efforts to bring these different components together. This priority is motivated by the conviction that achieving goals of designing, guiding, and controlling living technology requires a strong interdisciplinary combination of these different efforts, and that a complete understanding of living systems requires close contact with an embodied realization.
Such a European Centre can also serve the strongly multi-disciplinary initiatives in the thematically related EU-funded emerging technology projects. There is the common theme of exploiting the organizational and creative potential of complex life-like systems in technological applications.
When synergies are identified, we propose to enlarge the focus of the ECLT by including other embodiments of complex systems with life-like properties, including inorganic systems such as robots, growing evolving networks, or populations of embodied agents. While other IST-FET projects are not focused entirely within living technology, they do appear to have significant overlap with this theme and the ECLT now forms a unique attraction in Europe and differs from other complex system initiatives. The qualitative system features that would make it appropriate for study as living technology include: autonomy, robustness, sensitivity, adaptation, evolvability, ongoing creativity, self-construction, self-repair, modular structuring, integrated design, intrinsic semantics, and collective intelligence.
Examples of research themes that have provided focii for joint meeting and research activities at the ECLT include:

  • Theory and simulation of living information processes: interface with artificial life and systems biology
  • Dynamics of self-organization and evolution: interface with physics of complex sytems, nanotechnology and theoretical biology
  • Evolvability, emergence and adaptive flexibility: interface with evolutionary optimization, evolvable hardware and dynamical networks
  • Evolvable communication, languages and distributed processing: interface with agent based modelling and natural computing

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