New draft: Computing Networks: A General Framework to Contrast Neural and Swarm Architectures

Feedback, suggestions, and criticisms are more than welcome.

Gershenson, C. (2010) "Computing Networks: A General Framework to Contrast Neural and Swarm Architectures". C3 Report No. 2010.01.

Abstract: Computing Networks (CNs) are defined. These are used to generalize neural and swarm architectures, namely artificial neural networks, ant colony optimization, and particle swarm optimization. The description of these architectures as CNs allows their comparison, distinguishing which properties enable them to perform complex computations and exhibit complex cognitive abilities. In this context, the most relevant characteristics of CNs are the existence multiple dynamical and functional scales.

Full paper: http://uk.arxiv.org/abs/1001.5244


Things as they really are

Today Lama Jampa visited our sangha, giving several teachings. He mentioned (or at least Eduardo translated it that way from Tibetan) that when one is in the state of the Buddha, things are perceived as they really are.

Since I had learned from Eduardo that in Buddhism things are composed by object, subject, and action, I did not understand the meaning of Lama Jampa's words, so I asked.
My translated summary of what I understood of the translation of Lama Jampa's summary is the following: You cannot really see things (they are in between being, not being, being and being, and not {being and not being}). The phrase "things as they really are" means that one realizes causality and relationships between all things, i.e. that no thing is isolated. I find this very interesting, because this is precisely what the scientific study of complex systems does, as opposed to traditional reductionistic science (since Galileo, Descartes, Newton, Laplace). We study the relevance of interactions among different phenomena, and that is my personal view of what makes complexity complexity (not many elements, not non-linearity, not self-organization, not emergence, etc. All these properties are very interesting, but the defining characteristic of complex systems, for me, is the relevance of interactions in the future state of elements).
So, trying to synthesize: A clearer description of the world is one which takes into account interactions, as opposed to one description that does not put attention to them. Scientist, pay attention, reductionism no no. (can you tell that I enjoy spending lots of time with my 2 year old daughter?)


1st CfP: Session on Complex Networks @ ALife XII

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Call for Papers

Session on Complex Networks


ALife XII: 12th International Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems

Odense, Denmark, 19-23 August 2010

Coordinators: Mikhail Prokopenko and Carlos Gershenson


Many complex systems are amenable to be described as networks. These include genetic regulatory, structural or functional cortical networks, ecological systems, metabolism of biological species, author collaborations, interaction of autonomous systems in the Internet, etc. A recent trend suggests to study common global topological features of such networks, e.g. network diameter, clustering coefficients, assortativity, modularity, community structure, etc.

Various network growth models have also been proposed and studied to emulate the features of the real-world networks, e.g. the preferential attachment model, which explains scale-free power law degree distributions observed in many real-world networks.

Another direction is to investigate network motifs and subgraphs in order to understand and analyse the
local structure and function of networks. The presence of a certain motif in a network may mean that that motif plays an important role in the overall functionality of the network. Thus, functionality of specific motifs, including their information processing and control functions, is a challenging topic relevant in Artificial Life studies, such as genetic regulatory networks, cell signaling networks, and protein interaction networks.
In addition, propagation and processing of information within networks may be analysed as (Shannon) information dynamics. Such analysis requires to consider not only networks' topology, but also the time-series dynamics at individual nodes. Specific topics of interest include phase transitions of network properties between ordered and chaotic regimes, where information transfer is often maximised, and other nonlinear phenomena related to criticality in networks.


The intention of the session is to bring together researchers from both Artificial Life and Complex Networks communities, in order to facilitate cross-fertilization, increase exposure of both communities to relevant research and foster new collaborations.

Guest Lectures



Contributions to the Session should be prepared and submitted according to the ALife guidelines, available at http://alifexii.org/submissions/. There are two types of submission: papers (8 pages max) and abstracts (500 words max). Every submission will be subject to full peer review. All accepted submissions will be allocated an oral presentation slot with no distinction being made between the two submission formats.


Every accepted full-paper and abstract submission will be published by MIT Press in the ALife online open-access proceedings. A special issue of the MIT Press journal Artificial Life would follow, inviting researchers to expand the work presented at the session.

Important Dates

Paper submission: February 28, 2010
Paper notification: April 16, 2010
Camera-ready: May 7, 2010
Conference: August 19-23, 2010
Dr. Mikhail Prokopenko
CSIRO, Australia

Dr. Carlos Gershenson
UNAM, Mexico


21st century food

My wife Nadya started working as a wellness coach a few months ago. I have received great benefits from her recently acquired knowledge. We already had "healthy" diets, we had "normal" weights, but it turns out that we could do much better. In few weeks, with the help of the latest "nutrition technology", we got much more energy (useful when an active toddler is jumping around...), had much better digestion, recovered the weight we had when we were teens... (I recovered the muscles I had when I swam 50Km a week, but I barely exercise: nutrition seems to be more important than physical activity for health (which is also important)). If you would like to know more about how to feel better and improve your health through nutrition, feel free to contact my wife nadya.bienestar@gmail.com

Now, why most people feed on "dark age" food, instead of receiving benefits from the latest scientific discoveries in nutrition? Well, many people simply inherit their habits from their parents. Still, it seems that average people have worse nutrition than a generation ago. The present generation is the first one in centuries predicted to have a lower longevity than its previous one. Here in Mexico, we have the first place in child obesity (If we cannot with the World Cup, at least we are first in something), and the leading causes of death are diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases. All of them are complex diseases, but the main factor leading to them is an unbalanced diet. Why governments do not take action? It seems that there are many aspects behind this. One is social: people are more prone to be overweight if their peers are also overweight. Obesity has become socially acceptable. Another reason is economical: there are many interests behind the production of junk food, drinks, sweets, etc. Even when the effects of sugar are similar to those of other drugs (dependence, tolerance, gives you a high, then a low), people offer sweets to my child without any shame. There is also lack of nutritional education. And most of the education that is given, e.g. the food pyramid, is obsolete. There are many efforts being made in different fronts to improve the situation. In spite of several obstacles, I believe that the knowledge for healthier nutritions will propagate in the coming years.