January 03, 2006

The Evolution of Complexity

... is a fascinating area of inquiry, containing a small quantity of outstanding work, surrounded by a vast expanse of rubbish. This is your chance to help improve the ratio, if you can fit your contribution into six pages by February 28th.

Workshop on the Evolution of Complexity
June 3rd, 2006, Bloomington, IN, USA
as a part of the
Tenth International Conference on the Simulation and Synthesis of Living Systems: ALife X

The evolution of complexity is a central theme in Biology. Yet it is not without any ambiguity. Complexity has been used to refer to different things. For instance, complexification has been interpreted as a process of diversification between evolving units or as a scaling process that is related to the idea of transitions between different levels of complexity. Other meanings of complexity have been introduced, both inside and outside the realm of Biology. What concerns most researchers is to get insight into the mechanisms that produce their notion of complexity.

The focus of this workshop will be on biological interpretations of complexity and the driving mechanisms: primarily we want the focus to be on evolutionary and related dynamics as mechanisms for producing complexity. Furthermore, we want to bring together historical and novel research in this context.

Questions to be addressed at the workshop include:

  • What are the environmental constraints of complexity growth in living systems?
  • What is the origin and role of developmental mechanisms in evolution?
  • Are the principles of natural selection, as they are currently understood, sufficient to explain the evolution of complexity?
  • What are the limits at different levels to the evolution of complexity, and which conditions could reduce evolved complexity?
  • <Which models are | What language is> more appropriate to <understand | speak about> the evolution of complexity in living systems?
  • How could complexity growth be measured or operationalised in natural and artificial systems?
  • How can data from nature be brought to bear on the study of this issue?
  • What are the main hypotheses about complexity growth that can actually be tested?
  • Is it possible to <direct|manipulate> the evolution of complexity, or which benefits would bring its understanding?

See the full call for papers for more information about submission, publication, peer-review, etc. (I am on the program committee, which means I will be one of the reviewers.)

Biology; Complexity

Posted at January 03, 2006 17:52 | permanent link

Three-Toed Sloth