Artificial Life Programme


The main aim of the Artificial Life Programme is to promote interaction between researchers in the School of Informatics, and other schools at the University of Edinburgh, who have interests in scientific, engineering, philosophical and artistic aspects of artificial life. Researchers from other institutions in the Edinburgh area are also welcome to participate. Further information on the aims of the programme and the reasons for its creation can be found in the original proposal document (PDF format).

Artificial Life

The Artificial Life Journal describes the subject area as follows:

Artificial Life is devoted to a new discipline that investigates the scientific, engineering, philosophical, and social issues involved in our rapidly increasing technological ability to synthesize life-like behaviors from scratch in computers, machines, molecules, and other alternative media. By extending the horizons of empirical research in biology beyond the territory currently circumscribed by life-as-we-know-it, the study of artificial life gives us access to the domain of life-as-it-could-be. Relevant topics span the hierarchy of biological organization, including studies of the origin of life, self-assembly, growth and development, evolutionary and ecological dynamics, animal and robot behavior, social organization, and cultural evolution.

Artificial Life in Edinburgh

There is a rich history of artificial life research at Edinburgh University, involving researchers from various different departments, schools and institutes. Within the School of Informatics, the most active research groups in this area are in the Institute of Perception, Action and Behaviour (IPAB) (especially in the areas of robotics and evolutionary algorithms), the Centre for Intelligent Systems and their Applications (CISA) (evolutionary algorithms, ant colony optimisation and artificial immune systems), and the Institute of Adaptive and Neural Computation (IANC) (artificial learning systems and neuroinformatics). Elsewhere in the University, the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences is home to the Language Evolution and Computation Research Unit and the Department of Philosophy, and the School of Biological Sciences is home to the Institute of Evolutionary Biology. Membership of the programme is drawn from researchers in all of the institutes listed above. We also have close links with the Centre for Emergent Computation at Napier University.


Occasional seminars are organised and advertised through the email list. Members of the programme are also encouraged to use the list to advertise seminars in their own departments which might be of general interest to others.

Membership/Email list

There is no formal concept of membership. Anyone is welcome to join the programme's email list to receive notification of seminars and to communicate with others on the list.

Tim Taylor
20 January 2005 (last updated 18 March 2005)

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