A BRICS Mini-Course
November 9-11, 16 and 17, 1998
Thiemo Krink, firstname.lastname@example.org
Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen
Freddy B. Christiansen
Department of Genetics and Ecology, University of Aarhus
Department of Zoology, University of Aarhus
Biological ideas can serve as sophisticated models for problem-solving strategies and the design and management of complex computing systems. This potential, found in biological systems, arises from Nature's characteristic capability of parallel processing, self-organisation, efficiency and robustness, i.e., effective behaviour under unpredictably changing conditions. Interestingly, there are various analogies between complex systems in computer science and biology, as for instance competition for resources, division of labour or concurrency. However, apart from evolutionary computing and artificial neural networks, there are surprisingly few studies into potential applications of other biological ideas that might be useful to IT problems and questions.
In this mini-course we will discuss various aspects of biology, which could be used for novel adaptive and distributed algorithms and introduce some existing biological models already used in artificial intelligence (AI) and artificial life (ALife). The aim of the course is to raise interest for these (yet) unused biological ideas and to point at problems related to their identification and application in computer science.
In particular, we will discuss:
Thiemo Krink is currently enrolled as a research assistant professor (Forskningsadjunkt) at the BRICS PhD school. He was trained as a computer scientist at the Universities of Erlangen-Nürnberg and Hamburg (Germany), with special focus on computer simulation, AI and object-oriented programming. Within these areas he had specific interests in interdisciplinary research, which were stimulated by his medicine studies and his free lance activity as a business consultant. As an MSc student, he conducted two interdisciplinary projects on modelling of animal behaviour in collaboration with the biologist prof. Fritz Vollrath at Oxford. In 1994, he received his MSc degree in computer science and continued his research at the Department of Zoology, Aarhus, where he was conferred his PhD degree (biology) in 1997. Most of his papers and conference talks were focused on the design and application of virtual robots for biological research. Apart from his own activity as a scientific author, his research has been published by public media such as newspapers (e.g., Berlingske Tidende), journals (New Scientist), books (R. Dawkins: Climbing Mount Improbable) and TV (e.g. Scientific American Frontiers). His current research interests are in the fields of (i) applications of biological concepts for computational ideas and (ii) theoretical biology concerning general models for coevolution and behavioural ecology.
Per Bak is professor at the Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen. His ground-breaking research on self-organised criticality (SOC) is concerned with principal mechanisms of complex phenomena found in various disciplines. Besides various other disciplines, Per Bak applied his research to biological questions in collaboration with Stuart Kauffman at the Santa Fé institute.
Freddy B. Christiansen is professor at the department of Genetics and Ecology in Aarhus. His research activities are focused on multi-locus theory. Interestingly, he is also involved in interdisciplinary research on genetic algorithms together with John Holland and Mark Feldman at the Santa Fé institute.
Erik Baatrup is associate professor at the Institute of Biological Sciences, AU, with research in ecotoxicology. He has developed several computerized video-tracking systems used for describing animal behaviour in precise numerical terms. Changes in the behaviour of terrestrial and aquatic organisms are useful effect-biomarkers of environmental pollutants.
Per Bak: Complexity and self-organised criticality
Thiemo Krink: Synchronisation, communication and decision making