Evo-Devo-Robo: Evolutionary Robotics and Developmental Robotics

July 8, morning, 2012, Philadelphia, USA

[GECCO website] [List of Topics] [Organizers] [Invited speakers] [Submissions/deadlines]

  • 12/20/2011: new website
  • 01/13/2012: updated list of invited speakers
  • 01/31/2012: updated list of invited speakers
  • 06/21/2012: workshop program added

Developmental robotics (also known as epigenetic robotics) is mainly concerned with modelling the postnatal development of cognitive behaviours in living systems, such as language, emotion, curiosity, anticipation, and social skills. While current work in this field has shown significant successes, several aspects can be added to go even further. First, ontogenetically, mental development is based on and closely coupled with physical development of an organism, including development of both the body plan and the nervous systems. Autonomous mental development in living system was gradually shaped by a brain-body co-evolution embedded in a changing environment. The introduction of morphogenetic robotics addresses this first challenge in developmental robotics to a certain extent by integrating mental and physical development. Second, biological evidence suggests that autonomous mental development is driven by intrinsic motivational systems among others. Current robotic systems have a predefined intrinsic motivation system. However, the evolutionary origin that accounts for both physical and mental development is still missing. Evolutionary robotics applies evolutionary algorithms to the automatic design of neural controllers for autonomous robots without considering the role of development. Thus, integrating research on developmental (including epigenetic and morphogenetic) robotics and evolutionary robotics is the natural next step. Developmental plasticity can not only bias evolution, but also enhance evolvability by maintaining genetic diversity in changing environments and resolving robustness-variability trade-off. Therefore, we believe that it is high time to bring together evolutionary robotics and developmental robotics to form a new discipline evolutionary developmental robotics (evo-devo-robo).

Intended audience

This workshop is intended to discuss recent development in evolutionary robotics and epigenetics robotics to highlight common problematics and the complementarity of these approaches. It is aimed at facilitating the exchanges between the two communities.

List of Topics

  • Evolutionary and developmental approaches to design of robot body plan and controller
  • Morphogenetic approaches to self-organizing multi-robot systems
  • Morphogenetic reconfiguration of modular robots
  • Evolution of neural and morphological development in robotic systems
  • Evolution of self-organising multi-robot systems
  • Neuro-cognitive development
  • Interactions between evolution, learning and development
  • Computational modelling of neural plasticity and neural development
  • Evolutionary and developmental approaches to autonomous learning systems


  • Stephane Doncieux, ISIR, University Pierre et Marie Curie, France.
    Email: stephane.doncieux_at_isir.upmc.fr
  • Yaochu Jin, University of Surrey, UK.
    Email: yaochu.jin_at_surrey.ac.uk
  • Jean-Baptiste Mouret, ISIR, University Pierre et Marie Curie, France.
    Email: mouret_at_isir.upmc.fr


Invited speakers

  • Dr. Giorgio Metta, Italian Institute of Technology, Italy
  • Dr. Manuel Lopes, INRIA Bordeaux, France
  • Dr. Joshua C. Bongard, University of Vermont, USA
  • Dr. Kenneth Stanley, University of Central Florida, USA
  • Dr. Nicolas Bredeche, University Paris-Sud, France
  • Dr. René Doursat, Complex Systems Institute, Paris Ile-de-France (ISC-PIF), France
  • Dr. Fumiya Iida, Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Submission and deadlines

  • Submission: extended abstracts (2-4 pages) following ACM template should be sent in electronic form (pdf) to evodevorobo_at_isir.upmc.fr
  • March 28th, 2012: Workshop Papers Submission Deadline
  • April 9th, 2012: Notification of Acceptance
  • April 16th, 2012: Camera-Ready Paper Submission
  • July 8th, 2012: Workshop


  • 8:30 Welcome
  • 8:35 G. Metta (Italian Institute of Technology, Italy): The iCub and Developmental Robotics
  • 9:00 J. Bongard (University of Vermont, USA): Evo-Devo-Robo De Novo: What does Devo Buy Us?
  • 9:25 R. Doursat (Universidad de Málaga (UMA), Spain): Morphogenetic Engineering: Reconciling Architecture with Self-Organization
  • 9:50 Poster spotlights
  • 10:40 F. Iida (ETH Zurich, Switzerland): Soft Robotics Approach to Artificial Morphogenesis
  • 11:05 N. Bredeche (Université Paris Sud, France).: Environment-driven Evolutionary Adap- tation for Swarm Robotics
  • 11:30 K. Stanley (University of Central Florida, USA).: Evolving Robot Teams through Multiagent HyperNEAT
  • 11:55 M. Lopes (INRIA Bordeaux, France): Autonomous Exploration Through Curios- ity and Social Guidance
  • 12:20 Closing remarks
Abstracts of the talks