Category: Books

Proceedings of the 14th European Conference on Artificial Life 2017

This volume is the proceedings of ECAL 2017, the Fourteenth European Conference on Artificial Life, held September 4–8th 2017, in Lyon, France ( Since the first ECAL in 1991, the conference is the main international event of the International Society for Artificial Life in odd-numbered years, alternating with ALife, the International Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems. The theme of this edition of ECAL was “Create, play, experiment, discover: The experimental power of virtual worlds”. The volume contains the abstracts of the seven invited presentations, as well as 87 contributed articles selected by the programme committee based on at least three independent reviews. Contributions are either long (up to 8 pages) or short (up to 2 pages) articles. Long articles present original results, while short articles are extended abstracts presenting either original work or recently published work. These contributions cover all the topics of artificial life, including: artificial chemistry; origins of life; self-replication, self-repair and morphogenesis; evolutionary dynamics; ecological dynamics; social dynamics; computational cellular biology; computational physiology; bio-inspired robotics; evolutionary robotics; perception, cognition and behavior; evolution of language and computational linguistics; embodied and interactive systems; collective dynamics of swarms; complex dynamical systems and networks; cellular automata and discrete dynamical systems; economic and social systems as living systems; computational humanities; methodologies and tools for artificial life; interactions between in silico/in vitro/in vivo experiments; philosophical, epistemological and ethical issues; artificial life and education; artificial life-based art; applications of artificial life; living technologies.


The elegant law that governs us all


A dog owner weighs twice as much as her German shepherd. Does she eat twice as much? Does a big city need twice as many gas stations as one that is half its size? Our first instinct is to say yes. But, alas, we are wrong. On a per-gram basis, a human requires about 25% less food than her dog, and the larger city needs only 85% more gas stations. As Geoffrey West explains in Scale, the reason behind these intriguing phenomena is a universal law known as allometry—the finding that as organisms, cities, and com­panies grow, many of their characteristics scale nonlinearly.


The elegant law that governs us all

Albert-László Barabási
Scale. Geoffrey West. Penguin Press, 2017. 490 pp.

Science  14 Jul 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6347, pp. 138
DOI: 10.1126/science.aan4040


Explaining Top-Down Minds from the Bottom Up. Review of From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds by Daniel C. Dennett, 2017

The main topic of Dennett’s book is intelligent design and the design of intelligence, trying to make intuitive the processes of both, be it the top-down process of comprehension that designs with foresight and reasons or the bottom-up process of evolution that has, through blind trial and error, captured free-floating rationales and ultimately, through co-evolution (between memes and genes), achieved top-down intelligence, flipping its original design process upside down.


Delarivière S. (2017) Explaining top-down minds from the bottom up. Review of from bacteria to bach and back: The evolution of minds by daniel c. Dennett, 2017.. Constructivist Foundations 12(3): 369–372.


Why we live in hierarchies: a quantitative treatise

This book is concerned with the various aspects of hierarchical collective behaviour which is manifested by most complex systems in nature. From the many of the possible topics, we plan to present a selection of those that we think are useful from the point of shedding light from very different directions onto our quite general subject. Our intention is to both present the essential contributions by the existing approaches as well as go significantly beyond the results obtained by traditional methods by applying a more quantitative approach then the common ones (there are many books on qualitative interpretations). In addition to considering hierarchy in systems made of similar kinds of units, we shall concentrate on problems involving either dominance relations or the process of collective decision-making from various viewpoints.


Why we live in hierarchies: a quantitative treatise
Anna Zafeiris, Tamás Vicsek


The Money Formula: Dodgy Finance, Pseudo Science, and How Mathematicians Took Over the Markets

The Money Formula takes you inside the engine room of the global economy to explore the little-understood world of quantitative finance, and show how the future of our economy rests on the backs of this all-but-impenetrable industry. Written not from a post-crisis perspective – but from a preventative point of view – this book traces the development of financial derivatives from bonds to credit default swaps, and shows how mathematical formulas went beyond pricing to expand their use to the point where they dwarfed the real economy. You’ll learn how the deadly allure of their ice-cold beauty has misled generations of economists and investors, and how continued reliance on these formulas can either assist future economic development, or send the global economy into the financial equivalent of a cardiac arrest.

Rather than rehash tales of post-crisis fallout, this book focuses on preventing the next one. Even amidst global recovery, the financial system still has the potential to seize up at any moment. The Money Formula explores the how and why of financial disaster, what must happen to prevent the next one.