To participate register at

All workshops will be held at Peterson Engineering Building 550, 416 Escondido Mall; the same building as the main conference. 


Workshop 1.

Bioinspired Aerial Vehicles

This workshop explores topics at the intersection of aerial robotics and biology. Confirmed participants include a mixture of researchers in flying and perching robots, biology and the biomechanics of flight. In addition to short talks and discussion sessions we will organize a couple of  “hands on” events for participants involving demonstrations
of high speed filming of avian and robotic flying and perching. These events will take advantage of facilities at the Lentink Lab and Cutkosky Lab at Stanford. Attendees are encouraged to contact the organizers about bringing their own fliers


Alexis Lussier Desbiens  – Université de Sherbrooke
Mark Cutkosky  – Stanford University 
David Lentink  Stanford University  

Full day: 25 July, 09:00-17:00

Confirmed speakers and program


Workshop 2.

Evo Devo of Living Machines

In recent decades the evo-devo—evolutionary and developmental—approach has become central to our current understanding of evolvability in the natural world. By identifying, simulating and abstracting evo-devo mechanisms it should be possible to assemble a powerful toolkit for the design of new kinds of artificial systems. To this end, researchers have explored generative methods, such as self-organization, selective methods, such as genetic algorithms and genetic programming, and adaptive methods such as reinforcement and supervised learning. A significant community has also begun to explore how such mechanisms can operate together more holistically and to develop designs for evolvable control system architectures that can generate life-like behavior in simulated organisms and biomimetic robots. This workshop will explore both the biological basis for the evolution of complex living systems and synthetic approaches inspired by nature that seek to assemble new kinds of artificial entities. The overall goal is to synthesize a new understanding of the evo-devo of ‘living machines’.


Tony Prescott – Cognitive Neuroscience
Leah Krubitzer – Psychology Neuroscience 

Full day: 25 July, 09:00-17:00

Invited Talks
Tony Prescott, University of Sheffield
Introduction: The evo-devo of living machines

Josh Bongard, University of Vermont
Evo-Devo-SoRo: Evolving developmental trajectories for soft robots

Andrew Halley, University of California, Davis
The evolution of primate brain and body growth during embryonic and fetal development

Leah Krubitzer, University of Davis
Cortical plasticity within and across lifetimes

Stuart Wilson, University of Sheffield
Thermoregulatory huddling as a model for the evo-devo of social behaviour

Kenneth Stanley, Univ. of Central Florida & Uber AI Labs
Compositional Pattern Producing Networks: A High-Level Abstraction of Biological Development

Lucia Jacobs, UC Berkeley
How phylogenetic constraints shape the evolution of vertebrate olfactory systems

Short Talks
Hani Ben Amor, Arizona State University
From the lab to the desert: fast prototyping and learning for living machines

Gabriel Axel Montes, Newcastle University, Australia
Causal Biomimesis: Self-replication as Evolutionary Consequence

Full program with abstracts at:

This workshop is part-supported by the European FET Flagship Programme through the Human Brain Project (HBP-SGA1 grant agreement 72027


Workshop 3.

Control Architectures for Living Machines

How can we assemble components into complex systems that function and are robust and versatile? This is the question of architecture. From the architecture of the internet to that of the brain. This workshop brings together experts in the fields of artificial and biological network architectures to analyze the current state of the art in computer and internet architectures and their natural counterparts in the brain. From this broad perspective, we will aim to identify current obstacles in integration and scaling of artificial neural architectures and emerging principles that can overcome these glanced from their biological counterparts. Conversely, we will analyze how we can improve our understanding of the architecture of Living Machines with the tools generated to build complex synthetic systems.


Paul Verschure –Cognitive Neuroscience and Neurorobotics
John Doyle – BioEngineering

Full day: 25 July, 09:00-17:00

Confirmed Speakers & Program

9:00-915 Introduction 

9:15- 10:00  Paul Verschure –  Pompeu Fabra University
Overview and Intro to the Brain Architecture DAC 

10:00- 11:00  Bruno Olshausen – UC Berkeley 
Vision for Living Machines 

11:00-11:30 Coffee break

11:30 – 12:30  Tony Prescott –  Sheffield University
Layered cognitive architecture of mammalian spatial attention

12:30- 13:00 Discussion session

13:00  Lunch

14:00 – 15:00 John Doyle Caltech
Motor control experiments and theory, comparison with bacteria and a bit of technology 

15:00 – 16:00 Nikolai Matni  – Caltech 
New math for Living Machines

16:00 – 17:00 Discussion and wrap up