Editors: Josh Bongard, Juniper Lovato, Laurent Hebert-Dufrésne, Radhakrishna Dasari and Lisa Soros
This volume presents the proceedings of the 2020 Conference on Artificial Life (ALIFE 2020) which took place online July 13-18. Originally scheduled to be held in Montreal, Canada, this was the first time our conference had been conducted in this manner. Of course, our community was not alone: just about every human community has had to adapt to the covid-19 pandemic and its repercussions. It is difficult to avoid seeing the irony in this: Artificial Life researchers have declared, since the field’s inception at a small workshop at Los Alamos in 1987, that we wish to understand how life adapts to unforeseen circumstances. Further, we wish to incorporate learned mechanisms of adaptation into our technologies and, possibly, our societies. Put simply, Artificial Life invites us to think and learn about adaptation; SARS-CoV-2 forces us to adapt. More simple yet: ALife is theory; COVID is practice. There is a long tradition in our field of peering at our computer screens or into our petri dishes, waiting with bated breath to see what new forms emerge. Likewise for the post-pandemic world. Whatever does emerge from the conference, and from the pandemic — and whether we learn from it, and whether we use that knowledge to benefit each other — it is our honor to be part of the adventure with you.