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Call For Abstracts

Third International Workshop on Guided Self-Organization (GSO-2010)


Research Aims and Topics:

The GSO-2010 workshop will bring together invited experts and researchers in self-organizing systems, with particular emphasis on the information- and graph-theoretic foundations of GSO and information dynamics in cognitive systems.

The GSO-2010 workshop is third in the GSO series. The First International Workshop on Guided Self-Organisation (GSO-2008) was held 24-27 November 2008 in Sydney, Australia. It was followed by The Second International Workshop on Guided Self-Organisation (GSO-2009) on August 18-20, 2009 in Leipzig, Germany.

The goal of GSO is to leverage the strengths of self-organization while still being able to direct the outcome of the self-organizing process. In its most general form, GSO combines task-independent objectives (universal utility functions) with task-specific constraints. One may consider different ways to guide the process (dynamics) of self-organization, achieving a specific increase in structure or function within a system. This guidance may be provided by limiting the scope or extent of the self-organizing structures/functions, specifying the rate of the internal dynamics, or simply selecting a subset of all possible trajectories that the dynamics may take.

There have been a few recent attempts at formalizing aspects of GSO, specifically within information theory and dynamical systems: empowerment, information-driven evolution, robust overdesign, reinforcement-driven homeokinesis, predictive information-based homeokinesis, interactive learning, etc. What is common to many examples of GSO is the characterization of a system-environment loop (e.g., sensorimotor or perception-action loop) in information-theoretic terms. For instance, given an agent's behavior, the empowerment measures the amount of Shannon information that the agent can "inject into" its sensors through the environment, affecting future actions and future perceptions. On the other hand, maximization of the predictive information or excess entropy during a time interval enables an adaptive/evolutionary change in controllers' logic in such a way that the system becomes coordinated. Furthermore, methods relying on the use of predictive information in a sensorimotor process may produce explicit learning rules for the agent optimizing its behavior.

However, the lack of a common mathematical framework across multiple scales and contexts leaves GSO methodology somehow vague, indicating a clear gap. Filling this gap and identifying common principles of guidance are the main themes of GSO workshops.


The program includes 3 days of presentations, each day with two or three keynote talks (1 hour each), and 5-7 scheduled presentations (30 minutes each).

The following topics are of special interest: information-theoretic measures of complexity, graph-theoretic metrics of networks, information-driven self-organization (IDSO), applications of GSO to systems biology, computational neuroscience, cooperative and modular robotics, sensor networks.

Submissions to the workshop are extended abstracts (one page). Authors of accepted submissions will present the content to the workshop. It is expected that post-workshop publication of selected papers will follow in a special journal issue (as has been the case for previous GSO workshops). Selected papers of GSO-2008 were published by the Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) Journal, in the Special Issue on Guided Self-Organization (full text papers online here). A special issue of Theory in Biosciences is under review with selected papers from GSO-2009.

Invited speakers (confirmed):


If you are interested in presenting, please email a one-page extended abstract to the conference organizers. If you are interested in just attending, please send a short email to the conference organizers announcing your intentions (so we can adjust catering plans for coffee breaks and such). Following the workshop, a formal call for papers will be issued for a special journal issue. The workshop is free and open to all interested researchers, though for practical considerations the total number of presenters will be limited to 21, and the total number of attendees will be limited to 40.

Abstracts are due by Aug. 16, so people are able to present their latest research. And there is no registration fee, thanks to our sponsors. But a quick email to announce your intentions to attend or submit for presentation are appreciated as soon as possible, so we can adjust our plans as needed.


Indiana University Bloomington, Indiana USA

Program Committee: