14:00 – 14:10

Welcoming note by the organizers


14:10 – 14:30

Fabio BONSIGNORIO (The BioRobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Italy)

Embodied AI and Soft robotics: towards animal like intelligence?


14:30 – 14:50

Tom ZIEMKE (University of Skövde, Sweden)

On the role of the living body in grounding embodied cognition [via Skype]


14:50 – 15:10

Klaus-Peter ZAUNER (University of Southampton UK),

Substrates for Artificial Intelligence


15:10 – 15:30

Richard SOLÉ (UPF, Spain)

Engineering nature with synthetic biology


15:30 – 16:10

Tea Break


16:10 – 16:30

Yoshihiro SHIMIZU (Riken, Japan)

Systems biological approaches for the E. coli translation system


16:30 – 16:50

Roy BAR-ZIV (Weizmann Institute, Istarel), Programmable “artificial cells” on a chip


16:50 – 17:25

General Discussion and Final Remarks




Speaker are asked to give presentations for 20 minuets including very short one or two questions.


The overall discussion and questions&answers will be given at the final part of the workshop.











What can Synthetic Biology offer

 to Artificial Intelligence?

SB-AI 2015


Tuesday 21st July, 14:00 - 17:25



Satellite Meeting of ECAL 2015

20-24 July 2015

York, UK


Organized by

Luisa Damiano – Yutetsu Kuruma – Pasquale Stano


Sponsored by

Earth-Life Science Institute – Tokyo Institute of Technology




The emergence of the “embodied approach” in the cognitive sciences and AI increasingly focuses the investigations in these fields on the role(s) played by the body’s self-production and bodily interactions in cognition. This re-integration of the biological body in the scientific study of cognition, directed towards overcoming the Cartesian dichotomy characterizing classical cognitive science and AI, is progressing while significant advancements in the biological sciences are taking place.


One of the most notable is the development of Synthetic Biology (SB), a research area dedicated to the synthesis and assembly of biological parts, systems and/or processes to modify extant biological cells, or, in the most ambitious cases, to build synthetic cells. The constitution of this new field offers to the scientific community a new way of exploring the role played by the body in cognitive process: extending AI research within the domain of experimental biology, i.e., assigning to SB the task of building and experimentally studying minimal synthetic models of cognitive systems and processes.


The workshop “What can Synthetic Biology offer to Artificial Intelligence? SB-AI 2015” follows the first two editions, hold in Taormina, Sicily (ECAL 2013) and New York (ALIFE 2015).

SB-AI 2015 is directed towards the creation of an highly interdisciplinary community able of critically discuss, fruitfully correlate and programmatically improve the emergent research programs involving cooperation between SB and AI in the exploration of cognitive processes. The main idea is that of promoting the interaction between experimental research and theoretical and/or epistemological reflection, and the emergence of a strongly interdisciplinary front line in SB, AI, philosophy of science and related fields that cooperatively tackle issues as the following:


  • Can SB constructively explore the embodied cognition and intelligence through the constitution of biological systems and phenomena? If yes, how? In which conditions and in what ways could this exploration positively contribute to AI research? That is: What can SB offer to AI?
  • Which are the groundings, the procedures, the expected results and the impacts of current research programs involving SB in AI research?
  • Can SB support the structuring process of an effective Embodied Approach to the cognitive sciences and AI? Why and how?
  • Can we at the present time plan concrete collaborations between computer science, robotics and SB in the scientific study of natural forms of intelligence? How?
  • Can SB contribute to the development of new forms of cognition alternative to the ones we know?


This third edition of the SB-AI workshop intends to bring together contributions related to these questions, and investigating one or more aspects of the (possible/actual) relationships between SB and AI. The workshop will be divided in two parts: a first part dedicated to the presentation of these contributions, and the second one dedicated to a structured discussion, aiming at constituting a productive dialogue among the different specialists involved, in order to allow them to cooperate in the critical improvement of the projects and the ideas presented during the talks.



Call for Abstracts

We are accepting abstracts for presentation at the workshop. Submissions will be peer reviewed by members of the Program Committee. Please submit via e-mail ( a short abstract (around 800 words, minimum 600 words, maximum 1000 words) as pdf file. The file should not contain the name of authors, just the title and the abstract.



Please visit the ECAL 15 conference registration web page


Important Dates

·        Paper submission: May 31 2015

·        Author notification: June 20, 2015

·        Registration: please visit the ECAL 2015 website

·        Date: Tuesday 21st July, 14:00 - 17:25



  • Luisa Damiano; Center for Research on Complex Systems (CERCO), University of Bergamo, Italy (;
  • Yutetsu Kuruma; Earth and Life Science Institute, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo, Japan (
  • Pasquale Stano; Science Dept., University Roma 3, Rome, Italy (