Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Robotics: Ethics of artificial intelligence

"Four leading researchers share their concerns and solutions for reducing societal risks from intelligent machines." News article @ Robotics: Ethics of artificial intelligence

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From evolutionary computation to the evolution of things

"We discuss how evolutionary computation compares with natural evolution and what its benefits are relative to other computing approaches, and we introduce the emerging area of artificial evolution in physical systems." Full article @ Nature

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Robots that can adapt like animals

"we introduce an intelligent trial-and-error algorithm that allows robots to adapt to damage in less than two minutes in large search spaces without requiring self-diagnosis or pre-specified contingency plans. Before the robot is deployed, it uses a novel technique to create a detailed map of the space of high-performing behaviours. This map represents the robot’s prior knowledge about what behaviours it can perform and their value. When the robot is damaged, it uses this prior knowledge to guide a trial-and-error learning algorithm that conducts intelligent experiments to rapidly discover a behaviour that compensates for the damage. Experiments reveal successful adaptations for a legged robot injured in five different ways, including damaged, broken, and missing legs, and for a robotic arm with joints broken in 14 different ways. This new algorithm will enable more robust, effective, autonomous robots, and may shed light on the principles that animals use to adapt to injury." Ful paper @ Nature


Tuesday, May 19, 2015


CRISPR gene editing

"Just a few years ago, molecular biologists hoping to alter the genome of their favorite organisms faced an arduous task and likely weeks of genetic tinkering. Today, those scientists can quickly destroy or edit a gene with a new technology called CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat)/Cas9. [...]It really opens up the genome of virtually every organism that’s been sequenced to be edited and engineereg." Overview @ PNAS

Monday, May 18, 2015


Turing patterns in zebrafish skin

"The zebrafish is a model organism for pattern formation in vertebrates. Understanding what drives the formation of its coloured skin motifs could reveal pivotal to comprehend the mechanisms behind morphogenesis. The motifs look and behave like reaction–diffusion Turing patterns, but the nature of the underlying physico-chemical processes is very different, and the origin of the patterns is still unclear. Here we propose a minimal model for such pattern formation based on a regulatory mechanism deduced from experimental observations. This model is able to produce patterns with intrinsic wavelength, closely resembling the experimental ones. We mathematically prove that their origin is a Turing bifurcation occurring despite the absence of cell motion, through an effect that we call differential growth. This mechanism is qualitatively different from the reaction–diffusion originally proposed by Turing, although they both generate the short-range activation and the long-range inhibition required to form Turing patterns." Full paper @ Nature Communications

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Friday, May 15, 2015


Genetic control in the Evolution of Social Bees

Genetic control of social behavior: "“The study suggests that there has been an increase in the complexity of gene regulation with increased social complexity.” News article @ The Scientist Magazine. Full original paper:

Kapheim et al [2015]. "Genomic signatures of evolutionary transitions from solitary to group living." Science DOI:10.1126/science.aaa4788.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015


Splicing does the two-step

"An intricate recursive RNA splicing mechanism that removes especially long introns (non-coding sequences) from genes has been found to be evolutionarily conserved and more prevalent than previously thought." Full News article @ Nature

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Deep-ocean microbe is closest living relative of complex cells

"Genomic study of 'Loki' supports a revisionist view of the origin of eukaryotes". NEws article @ Science


How a well-adapted immune system is organized

"The adaptive immune system uses the experience of past infections to prepare its limited repertoire of specialized receptors to protect organisms from future threats. What is the best way of doing this? Building a theoretical framework from first principles, we predict the composition of receptor repertoires that are optimally adapted to minimize the cost of infections from a given pathogenic environment. A naive repertoire can reach these optima through a biologically plausible competitive mechanism. Our findings explain how limited populations of immune receptors can self-organize to provide effective immunity against highly diverse pathogens. Our results also inform the design and interpretation of experiments surveying immune repertoires." Full article @ PNAS

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Monday, May 11, 2015


The Search for a New Machine

"With the end of Moore's law in sight, chip manufacturers are spending billions to develop novel computing technologies." Full article @ Scientific American


Cellular Small Talk

"Neighboring cells exchange molecular information through channels that directly connect them. Disruption of this signaling system can lead to disorders ranging from hearing loss to heart disease." Full article @ Scientific American

Saturday, May 09, 2015


Grades are in!

The grades are in. Many awesome projects. Thank you and I hope you enjoyed learning more about bio-inspired computing during this semester. Go and have a fantastic Summer!

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Tuesday, May 05, 2015


3D Printing Soft Materials: What Is Possible?

"roundtable discussion [...] talking about 3D printing soft materials. [...] cutting edge of the technology, and is also likely to have quite important disruptive effects. [Discussion] about the prospects, what is exciting about it, and some of the limitations. Full roundtable discussion @ "Soft Robotics

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