Special Issue on Lifelike Computing Systems

A Special issue of the Artificial Life Journal

This special issue will focus on ‘lifelike computing systems’: how we can learn from the study of life and living systems to develop new, practical, and valuable computing systems that possess lifelike properties.


Submission, Timeline & Review Process

  • Expression of Interest: 1 December 2021
    (optional, but helps the review process)

  • Paper Submission Deadline: 31 March 2022

  • Extended Submission Deadline: 30 April 2022

  • Initial Reviews Returned by: 31 July 2022

  • Anticipated Publication Date: Spring 2023


Submission instructions:

All submissions will receive a minimum of two reviews, with at least one reviewer from an ALife background and another reviewer with an engineering or systems background.

Accepted papers will be published by MIT Press in a special issue of the Artificial Life journal (also see their Initial Submission guidelines)


What are Lifelike Computing Systems?

The Lifelike Computing Systems initiative [1] aims to learn from the study of life and living systems to develop new, practical, computing systems that possess ‘lifelike' properties; a further goal is to identify when such complex features are of particular value to people, society, and the world. The initiative's focus lies primarily on engineered technological systems broadly within the domain of computing.

The notion of ‘lifelike computing’ [2] is not intended to separate itself from or replace previous initiatives; in a large number of cases, there are already technologies and research efforts that strongly lean towards lifelike computing systems in specific aspects. Building on a long and highly successful tradition in biologically-inspired computing, the ‘lifelike’ vision not only seeks inspiration in the living world, but also seeks to replicate its qualities explicitly in technological systems. Indeed, we cannot claim that all bio-inspired systems remain lifelike, nor has this in-general even always a desirable outcome for those designing bio-inspired systems. The agenda also goes beyond fundamental ALife research, often rightly exploratory in nature, since it focuses explicitly on building purposeful and reliable technological systems for people, based on ALife principles. Therefore, the vision of explicit replication of lifelike qualities in technological systems of value to humanity, marks a sharpening of focus.


In this special issue of the Artificial Life journal, we welcome submissions that explore and contribute to the discussion on questions such as:

  • Which qualities of life are of high relevance and benefit for the engineering of lifelike computing systems useful to people? Why? And how?

  • How can we integrate and combine insights and methodological approaches from existing, related research initiatives such as cybernetics, self-aware computing, organic computing, or autonomic computing?

  • Which methods from domains such as artificial life, bio-inspired computing, artificial intelligence, self-adaptive and self-organizing systems contribute to achieving lifelike features of computing systems?

  • When is more ‘lifelike’ technology appropriate? What are the challenges associated with embedding technology that is more ‘lifelike’ in society? How can these be tackled?


We welcome contributions of interest to theoreticians and practitioners alike, as well as those that showcase how technological systems can implement the various approaches and insights from research on artificial life, and how and when these artificial life principles can support better technology for people. Fully novel contributions, as well as significantly extended versions of papers from the broader ALife community are welcome.

[1] https://lifelikecs.organic-computing.de/

[2] Anthony Stein, Sven Tomforde, Jean Botev, Peter R. Lewis. Lifelike Computing Systems. In Proceedings of the Lifelike Computing Systems Workshop (LIFELIKE 2021) at the 19th International Conference on Artificial Life (ALIFE 2021), Prague, Czech Republic, July 2021. Available at: http://ceur-ws.org/Vol-3007/


Guest Editors

  • Anthony Stein, University of Hohenheim (DE)

  • Sven Tomforde, Kiel University (DE)

  • Jean Botev, University of Luxembourg (LU)

  • Peter Lewis, Ontario Tech University (CA)


Please email lifelikecs@protonmail.com with any questions you may have. You can also follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/lifelikecs for news about the workshop and other related events.