BIMSI16-Swarm Intelligence and Artificial Life

Module Provider: School of Biological Sciences
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Prof Slawomir Nasuto


Summary module description:

Swarm Intelligence and Artificial Life are two active areas of research in computational optimisation and modelling. This module aims to inspire students into exploring the creative potential of these fields as well as providing insight into the state-of-t

Assessable learning outcomes:
The debate between higher purpose (teleology) and emergence will be examined. Theoretical understanding of life and life-like phenomena will be tested. Current scientific issues concerning attempts at synthesising life will be evaluated.

The mechanisms of operation of the individual Swarm Intelligence optimisation and search techniques will be discussed. Their place in a common framework and the similarities and differences will be examined.

Additional outcomes:
The philosophical, social and ethical issues surrounding the creation of soft, hard & wet artificial life are important considerations for this subject.

Outline content:
Swarm Intelligence

Overview of field; stochastic search and optimisation; classification of SI techniques; A selection of techniques from: Particle Swarm; Stochastic Diffusion Processes; Evolutionary Algorithms; Ant Search; Memetic and Culutral algorithms; Ant Colony Optimisation; Estimating Density Algorithms; Bayesian Optimisation Evolution;

Artificial Life
Overview of artificial life – covering Hard, Soft and Wet A Life – and history
Soft Alife includes : Boids, Cellular Automata, Game of Life, Evolutionary Computing and ALife, Daisyworld, Modelling Populations, Attractors, Discrete models, Self similarity and Fractals, and ALife for TV and Films.
Hard Alife includes: robots, swarming, self replicating and flocking; Methods for Learning; Evolutionary Robotics; Machine Consciousness
Wet ALife includes Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction, Animats, In Vitro Neuronal Nets; Evolutionary Biology; Epigenetics; Baldwin Effect; Unconventional computing ;
Wetware computing; synchronisation and Small World theory

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Lectures with examples.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Guided independent study 80
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Set exercise 100

Other information on summative assessment:

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:

Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy.
The following penalties will be applied to coursework which is submitted after the deadline for submission:

where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark;
where the piece of work is submitted more than one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.
You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.
(Please refer to the Undergraduate Guide to Assessment for further information:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information:

Length of examination:

Requirements for a pass:
MEng 50% overall module mark
MSc 50% overall module mark

Reassessment arrangements:
Examination only.
One 2-hour examination paper in August/September.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 6 January 2017

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