26 October 2017
As part of DSI’s Fundamentals Theme we held a two-day workshop on Emergent and Adaptive Systems: Theory and Practice.

As ever more systems in everyday life are required to adapt their behaviour to suit their environment, or even fully design their own behaviour as a factor of their environment, this workshop sought to collect ideas and research from across computer science, statistics, and operational research. The workshop attracted almost 50 attendees from these disciplines, for research talks, panel sessions, posters and a future thinking session.

Attendees at the workshop from across Europe enjoyed a diverse set of invited talks, from Genetic Improvement in the Future of Software (Bill Langdon, UCL) to Weakly supervised learning for behaviourally-driven design (Christoforos Anagnostopoulos, Mentat). We also saw a set of contributed lightning talks on topics including Community-Designed Systems (Imperial College), Emergent Data Centre Software (Lancaster), and Lifelong Learning in Optimisation (Edinburgh Napier). Slides from the various talks can be found online here.

At the end of the first day a lively workshop dinner conversation debated the merits of statistical and deep learning, how we maintain personal humanity in an increasingly automated world, and a future of communities which are fundamentally designed and governed much more directly by their own members.

The workshop programme as a whole was designed to be discussion-oriented, with a panel session on the role of humans in future systems, a poster session with contributions across statistics and computer science, and finishing with a vibrant future thinking session on inter-disciplinary collaboration.

Attendees praised the level of diversity in research on show within this fast-emerging research field, and particularly commented on how thought-provoking the event was and how encouraged they were to maintain new contacts across other disciplines. We look forward to seeing future events on this theme, with one of our attendees offering to lead the next one!