On Wednesday 6th March, Dr Rene Doursat, Drexel University, Philadelphia, will give the CS4 talk “Morphogenetic Engineering: the Two-Way Bridges Between Biomodelling, Bioinspired Engineering, and Bioengineering”
Building 53 Room 4025, Highfield Campus, 4-5pm. Refreshments served after the talk.
“Complex systems are large sets of elements that interact locally and produce non-trivial collective behaviours. Natural complex systems, in particular biological, can be a powerful source of inspiration for future technologies. Understanding them by modelling and simulation can help create a new generation of autonomous and adaptive artificial systems, with potential “self‑x” properties mostly absent from traditional engineering. Conversely, closing the loop, these new computing principles can be applied to biomedical challenges, from image processing to “bioware” implementations such as synthetic biology or tissue engineering.
Historically, along these lines, the observation of neurons and genes has given rise to machine learning and evolutionary algorithms. However, these disciplines have also largely shifted their focus to classical optimisation and search problems, away from distributed and emergent computation. In this talk, I want to show new avenues of biomodelling and bioinspired design stressing the importance and benefits of genuine self-organisation in architectured systems, as exemplified by the growth of multicellular organisms. I will present a recent field of research, “morphogenetic engineering” ( http://doursat.free.fr/mebook.html ), which explores the design of complex morphologies that can develop without centralised or external control. Then, I will describe three studies illustrating the possible two-way transfers between modelling and engineering in biological complex systems ( http://doursat.free.fr/devo.html ): (1) a 3D agent-based simulation of early animal embryogenesis drawing from, and compared to, real microscopy imaging data, (2) an artificial evo-devo model of animated organisms in a 3D virtual world, and (3) an attempt at creating a programming language framework to “compile” desired spatial functions or behaviours in a population of bacteria.”