Special Session

The Distributed Viking
Cellular Automata, Distributed Dynamical Systems, and Their Applications to Intelligence

at ALIFE 2024

Conference Dates: July 22-26, 2024 - Copenhagen, Denmark

Submission deadline: April 10th, 2024


Stefano Nichele, Østfold University College, Norway
Hiroki Sayama, Binghamton University, USA
Chrystopher Nehaniv, University of Waterloo, Canada
Eric Medvet, University of Trieste, Italy
Mario Pavone, University of Catania, Italy

This special session in an initiative of the IEEE CIS Task Force on Artificial Life and Complex Adaptive Systems.

Scope of the special session

Distributed dynamical systems such as Cellular Automata and Random Boolean Networks (and everything in between), have long been used as models to understand computation and self-replication in biology, morphogenesis, gene regulation, life-as-it-could-be, and the universe.

Such complex systems models have been extensively studied mathematically and experimentally in all their different variations, such as synchronous and asynchronous updates, dynamic automata networks that can grow and change their structure including components and interconnection topology, as well as their robustness.

Recent advances of such models, including continuous CA such as Lenia [1] and neural-based CA [2], have been proposed as substrates to study the emergence of a more general intelligence [3, 4], thanks to their propensity to support properties such as self-organization, emergence, and open-endedness.

  • What can we learn from Cellular Automata and Distributed Dynamical System models about intelligence?
  • How can Cellular Automata and Distributed Dynamical System models be used to study the emergence of intelligence?

This special session aims at bridging the gap between the ALife community working with CA and distributed dynamical systems, and the broader AI community interested in exploring concepts from complex systems/self-organization/artificial life for AI research and machine learning, including modular robotics such as voxel-based robots.

[1] Chan, B. W. C. (2019). Lenia: Biology of Artificial Life. Complex Systems, 28(3).

[2] Mordvintsev, A., Randazzo, E., Niklasson, E., & Levin, M. (2020). Growing neural cellular automata. ADistill, 5(2), e23.

[3] Hamon, G., Etcheverry, M., Chan, B. W. C., Moulin-Frier, C., & Oudeyer, P. Y. (2022). Learning sensorimotor agency in cellular automata.

[4] Gregor, K., & Besse, F. (2021). Self-organizing intelligent matter: A blueprint for an AI generating algorithm. arXiv preprint arXiv:2101.07627.

Accepted Contributions

For the official date and time of presentations, please check the official ALIFE program.

The manuscripts will be published in the official ALIFE conference proceedings.

  • Ettore Randazzo and Alexander Mordvintsev - Simulating an Artificial Biome of Plants with Biomaker CA
  • Frantisek Koutensky, Petr Simanek and Alexander Kovalenko - Unlocking Nature's Design through Neural Cellular Automata
  • Juan Manuel Parrilla Gutierrez, Abhishek Sharma, Soichiro Tsuda and Leroy Cronin - Programming Weakly Connected Chemical Oscillators to Simulate Logic Gates and Cellular Automata
  • Lapo Frati, Csenge Petak and Nick Cheney - Networks of Binary Necklaces Induced by Elementary Cellular Automata Rules
  • Miguel Aguilera and Xabier E. Barandiaran - A minimal model of autonomous agency from the lens of stochastic thermodynamics
  • Thomas Gaul - Autopoiesis in RealLife Euclidean Automata
  • Aidan Barbieux and Rodrigo Canaan - Coralai: Evolving Scalable Ecosystems of Embodied Neural Cellular Automata
  • Q. Tyrell Davis - Non-Platonic Autopoiesis of a Cellular Automaton Glider in Asymptotic Lenia
  • Kameron Bielawski and Josh Bongard - Enabling Evolvability with Neutral Networks in Multiscale Neural Cellular Automata
  • Hiroki Sayama - Hash Chemistry on a Cellular Grid: An Open-Ended Artificial Chemistry System with Computational Efficiency and Nontrivial Spatio-Temporal Dynamics

Submission instructions

The submission instructions and submission link are available here

Please note that contributions to our special session have to be submitted through the main conference's submission system.

There are two options for submission:

  • Full papers have an 8-page maximum length (not including references) and should report on new, unpublished work;

  • Extended abstracts are limited to a 2-page length (not including references) and can report on previously published work or preliminary results.

Special Sessions are part of the conference main program. Contributions to special sessions undergo the same peer review process as other submissions to the conference and will be included in the ALIFE 2024 conference proceedings.

Important dates

Submission: April 10th, 2024
Notification: May 15th, 2024


Please feel free to contact us:
Stefano Nichele: stefano.nichele@hiof.no
Hiroki Sayama: sayama@binghamton.edu
Chrystopher Nehaniv: chrystopher.nehaniv@uwaterloo.ca
Eric Medvet: emedvet@units.it
Mario Pavone: mpavone@dmi.unict.it

Previous editions

The Distributed Ghost (ALife 2023)