The Right Stuff:
Appropriate Mathematics for Evolutionary and Developmental Biology

Full-Day Workshop at ALIFE VI
26 June 1998, UCLA


We are looking for `the right stuff', i.e. appropriate mathematical and computational tools/models for describing, studying, building or understanding fundamental aspects of natural living systems or living systems as-they-could-be (whether carbon-based, digital or otherwise) as opposed to inanimate systems.

Classical mathematical methods of population genetics tend to set out a fixed space of possibilities for the evolution of gene frequencies within a population. Unfortunately, by circumscribing the state-space at the outset, such an approach excludes the possibly of expressing change in developmental mechanisms or new evolutionary innovations such as body plans. While differential equation descriptions have proved crucial for understanding physics and chemistry and aspects of evolution, they seem to have largely failed as an appropriate language for some key aspects of biological systems. Living systems present special difficulties for such a mathematical treatment to particular problems of (1) death, damage, and development, (2) replication, inheritance and maintenance, (3) the relationship between genetic information and its realization via expression, and (4) the origin and evolution of biological complexity in populations of developing individuals.

The workshop strives to identify aspects special to living systems outside the scope of classical formal and conceptual tools, that can be treated formally with mathematical tools or computational models appropriate for natural (and artificial) biology.

SUGGESTED AREAS OF INTEREST - Mathematics & Computation for:



Program Committee Members


The workshop participants are required to register for the ALIFE 6 conference. 
Those who would like to attend but do not have an presentation accepted for the workshop, please register for ALIFE 6 and then send e-mail to giving your name and affiliation.


Submissions of 2-4 page extended abstracts (plain ASCII only, due to format conversion/compatibility problems, no postscript, MS-Word, or other typeset files please) and questions about submissions should be directed to arrive by 20 April via e-mail to Prof. Chrystopher L. Nehaniv at Submissions should show authors' names, affiliations and contact information. Please use the subject "ALIFE 6: TRS submission" when making your e-mail submission. Hardcopies may be sent to:

Prof. Chrystopher Nehaniv
The ALIFE 6 Right Stuff Workshop
University of Aizu
Japan 965-8580


April 20, 1998: Workshop papers due
May 15, 1998: Notification
June 26, 1998: Workshop


We are publishing the accepted extended abstracts in a University of Hertfordshire Technical Report, and pending approval of the ALIFE 6 organizers, we plan organize a special journal issue dedicated to issues of the workshop.


The Workshop will comprise a few keynote talks, contributed talks and a panel discussion with participants from different research areas.

The Right Stuff:
Appropriate Mathematics for Evolutionary and Developmental Biology

Full-Day Workshop at ALIFE VI
26 June 1998, UCLA


26 June 1998, University of California at Los Angeles

Morning Session 9:00-12:00


Chrystopher Nehaniv (Univ. Aizu, Japan & Univ. Hertfordshire, UK) and Günter Wagner (Yale University, USA):
The Right Stuff: Appropriate Mathematics for Evolutionary and Developmental Biology


Invited Talk
Giuseppe Pirillo (IAMI-CNR, Italy):
Automatically Finding Genes in Genomes


Invited Talk
James P. Crutchfield (Santa Fe Institute & University of California, Berkeley, U.S.A.):
The Evolutionary Unfolding of Complexity

10:30-11:00 COFFEE BREAK


Paulien Hogeweg (Utrecht University, Netherlands):
Tangled Hierarchies and Tangled Spaces in Development and Evolution: Computational methods and biological insights


Stefan Reimann (GMD, Sankt Augustin, Germany):
Structure, Symmetry, and Decomposition

Afternoon Session: 13:00-17:00


Invited Talk
Erik van Nimwegen (Santa Fe Institute, U.S.A.):
The Statistical Dynamics of Epochal Evolution


Lionel Barnett (University of Sussex, UK):
Applying Markov Process Analysis to Evolutionary Systems


Hamid Bolouri (Hertfordshire, UK and Caltech, USA) & Rod Adams, Stella George, Alistair Rust (Univ. Hertfordshire, UK):
Molecular self-organisation in a developmental model for the evolution of large-scale Artificial Neural Networks


Ehud Shapiro, Doron Lancet, Daniel Segre (Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel):
Molecular Transition Systems: A Computational embodiment for the Graded Autocatalysis Replication Domain (GARD) model


Tim Taylor (University of Edinburgh, UK):
Using Bottom-Up Models to Investigate the Evolution of Life: Steps Towards an Improved Methodology

15:10-15:35 COFFEE BREAK

15:35 -16:00

Peter Dittrich (University of Dortmund, Germany):
Real Evolution in Artificial Chemistries

16:00-17:00 Panel and General Discussion


Other Accepted Extended Abstracts in Workshop Notes:

Misha Kapushesky (Cornell University, USA):
Pattern formation by lateral inhibition

C. L. Nehaniv (Univ. Hertfordshire, UK) and J. L. Rhodes (Univ. California, Berkeley, USA):
Algebra, Evolution and Complexity of Living Systems

D. Repsilber and F. Scolz (Federal Research Centre for Forestry and Forest Products, Germany):
Genetic Networks as Model for Regulatory Domain applied in Ecological Genetics

Chrystopher Nehaniv, 12/1997.
Last Update 22/6/1998
Workshop URL: