Two major types of morphogenetic complex systems can be distinguished: ones that display simple repetitive patterns (spots and stripes) and ones that produce sophisticated functional shapes (bodies and constructions). We are interested here in the latter, since they represent decentralized systems endowed with a modular architecture, which can be observed in biology at every scale (cells, organisms, insect constructions) and also in certain engineered devices of a highly distributed nature (multi-agent software). To describe these architectures without architects, the concept of “morphogenetically architected complex systems” (MACS) allows drawing a link between spontaneously evolved biological and industrial complex systems, while at the same time focusing on structure. From there, we can address the question of (re)taking control of these systems, i.e. guiding or programming them toward more specific and beneficial outcomes. Broadly, this can be achieved in two ways: by instilling more self-organization into computing artefacts (swarm robotics, autonomous networks) and, conversely, by instilling more information technology into self-organizing natural objects (synthetic biology, organ growth).


René Doursat I am a researcher and lecturer focusing on computational biology and bio-inspired computing. After a detour through the software industry, I returned to academia in 2004, first as a Visiting Professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, then as a Research Scientist at the Complex Systems Institute, Paris and a Guest Lecturer at Ecole Polytechnique. I was also Director of the institute for two years. Later, I lived in the Washington DC area, where I was formally affiliated with Drexel University and taught at The Catholic University of America. In August 2014, I moved back to France to take up a new research position at CNRS.

Invited Talk e-session

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