The Second International Workshop on Guided Self-Organisation (GSO-2009)
Research Aim and Topics:
The workshop brings together invited experts and researchers in self-organising systems, following up <link http: www.prokopenko.net gso.html external>The First International Workshop on Guided Self-Organisation GSO-2008.
Self-organization is one of the most striking phenomena in nature. A broad definition of self-organization is given by Hermann Haken, the founder of synergetics: "A system is self-organizing if it acquires a spatial, temporal or functional structure without specific interference from the outside. By 'specific' we mean that the structure or functioning is not impressed on the system, but that the system is acted upon from the outside in a non-specific fashion."
In biology, a related definition is offered by Camazine et al.: "Self-organization is a process in which pattern at the global level of a system emerges solely from numerous interactions among the lower-level components of the system.
Moreover, the rules specifying interactions among the system's components are executed using only local information, without reference to the global pattern".
Self-organisation within a system brings about several attractive properties, in particular, robustness, adaptability and scalability. In the face of perturbations caused by adverse external factors or internal component failures, a robust self-organising system continues to function. Moreover, an adaptive system may re-configure when required, degrading in performance "gracefully" rather than catastrophically. In certain circumstances, a system may need to be extended with new components and/or new connections among existing modules — without self-organization such scaling must be pre-optimised in advance, overloading the traditional design process.
However, by its very nature, self-organization more often than not has its own way. To be useful in practice, methods of guiding self-organization towards prespecified goals have to be developed. Adding and controlling constraints provides one possibility to this end.
Many properties of self-organisation can be characterised formally (e.g., information-theoretically). However, the lack of agreement of what is meant by complexity, constraints, etc, as well as a common methodology across multiple scales leaves any definition of self-organisation somehow vague, indicating a clear gap. Filling this gap and identifying common principles of guidance are the main themes of GSO-2009. The workshop will put particular emphasis on principles based on information flows through the perception-action loop of embodied systems.