Alife XI logo    

New for ALIFE XI

1. Is there an overall "theme" for ALIFE XI?
2. Why invite two kinds of submission: "full papers" and "abstracts"?
3. Should I submit an abstract or a full paper?
4. Why run multiple parallel tracks?
5. Will there be any plenary sessions?
6. Will there be workshops, posters, tutorials?
7. Will there be any financial support for delegates that need it?
8. How will the proceedings be published?
9. Which papers will be published in the Artificial Life journal?

If you have any other questions, please contact questions@alifexi.org.

1. Is there an overall "theme" for ALIFE XI?

The watchword for ALIFE XI is "inclusivity".

Over the last twenty-one years, the ALIFE conference series has, along with its European sister conference ECAL, played an important role as a meeting place for researchers from diverse disciplines. Biologists, physicists, chemists, computer scientists, engineers, economists, linguists, geographers, psychologists, mathematicians, anthropologists, philosophers, musicians and artists have come together to exchange ideas and inspiration. In doing so, many have found an informed audience for work that may have been considered peripheral to the interests of their home disciplines. Maintaining this diversity of ideas, tools, approaches and cultures is something that we feel is extremely valuable.

One measure of artificial life's success is that the community's research has had an influence on the mainstream work within adjacent disciplines. What was once somewhat peripheral is increasingly central: witness the growth of interest in complexity, self-organisation, adaptation and simulation across a broad range of fields. Moreover, Alife has had a hand in the genesis of entirely new research communities in areas such as unconventional computing and self-* computing. If Alife is to remain healthy, there must be a continuing reason for researchers to keep coming back to the melting pot within which some of these ideas were incubated.

With this in mind, our aim is to make the meeting as open and attractive to researchers from as wide a range of disciplines as possible. You can help to make this a reality by encouraging as many of your colleagues from relevant disciplines as possible to submit papers or abstracts and attend the meeting.

2. Why invite two kinds of submission: "full papers" and "abstracts"?

The principal driver is a desire to involve as many relevant kinds of academics as possible at ALIFE XI (see 1, above). In addition to ALIFE's established core community, we hope to engage researchers from disciplines where conferences are not associated with published proceedings, e.g., many parts of biology. For such conferences it is standard practice to submit abstracts which are primarily filtered only for relevance (and perhaps sanity). We also appreciate that there are many Alife academics for whom a full conference paper may not look like a good return on the investment of time and effort required. For both of these groups of people, the opportunity to make a presentation based on a 500-word abstract may make the difference between attending the conference or not. We believe that the new format will maintain the character and quality of ALIFE whilst opening it up to a more diverse and representative community of researchers.

3. Should I submit an abstract or a full paper?

The short answer is that you should submit a full paper if a peer-reviewed published permanent record of the research is important to you. If it isn't, an abstract may be a more attractive option.

Some situations in which a full paper might be the right option:

  • You work within a discipline where full paper submission in the norm.
  • Financial support for your attendance at the conference would be easier to secure if it leads to full paper publication.
  • A piece of your research is not ready for journal publication but you wish to present it fully and in detail.
  • You are at a stage in your career when conference papers are valuable for your CV.
  • You would value the full peer review of your work that full paper submission guarantees.

Some situations in which an abstract might be the right option:

  • You work within a discipline where abstract submission is the norm.
  • You would like to present a piece of mature work, but it is already ready for journal submission, or is already submitted to a journal.
  • You have a late-breaking piece of work, and have missed the full-paper submission deadline.

Note that, if accepted, both abstracts and full papers will be allocated equal time for oral presentation, and both are expected to present mature, high-quality pieces of relevant work. The introduction of abstract submissions is not intended to solicit work that is low quality, incomplete or merely speculative, or to encourage multiple related submissions from the same author.

Finally, please note that where the peer review process concludes that a submitted full paper is not suitable for full publication, but nonetheless contains high-quality content, the paper will automatically be reconsidered as an abstract submission.

4. Why run multiple parallel tracks?

It is not ideal to have to choose between competing parallel sessions. However, we feel that allocating every submission an oral presentation offers the best opportunity for each researcher to present their work clearly and effectively to the delegates that have a substantive interest in it.

5. Will there be any plenary sessions?

Yes. There will be a small number of keynote addresses delivered by internationally leading researchers. Please see the list, here.

6. Will there be workshops, posters, tutorials?

As ALIFE has matured, the high quality of the workshops has become a key feature of the meeting. Rather than crowd these workshops into many competing parallel sessions on the first day, the current format allows workshop-style sessions (i.e., containing a small number of thematically linked talks and discussion) to take place over the whole course of the conference. For information on the themes around which such sessions may organise, please see the list here and follow links to the associated discussion and wiki pages. There are currently no plans for poster sessions or tutorials.

7. Will there be any financial support for delegates that need it?

The generosity of our sponsors means that we can commit to running a very affordable conference. In addition, a number of travel bursaries are being allocated to assist delegates who may otherwise be unable to attend ALIFE XI.

8. How will the proceedings be published?

All accepted papers and abstracts will be assembled in a single proceedings volume published by MIT Press (with an ISBN number). For the first time, these proceedings are due to be published as an open access, online volume. Rather than receiving an expensive and heavy book at registration, conference delegates (and anyone else) will instead, be able to freely access the entire conference proceedings online in advance of (and during) the conference itself. In addition to obvious economic and environmental advantages, this arrangement should enable delegates to make informed decisions regarding which talks to attend at the conference, and should also increase the impact of conference papers outside the immediate community of delegates attending the conference.

Cite a full paper like this:

Author, F., Author, S. & Author, T. (2008). Title of the paper. In S. Bullock, J. Noble, R. Watson, and M. A. Bedau (eds.) Artificial Life XI: Proceedings of the Eleventh International Conference on the Simulation and Synthesis of Living Systems, pp.xxx-yyy. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. [http://www.mitpress.org/... last accessed ??/??/08]

Cite an abstract like this:

Author, F., Author, S. & Author, T. (2008). Title of the abstract (abstract). In S. Bullock, J. Noble, R. Watson, and M. A. Bedau (eds.) Artificial Life XI: Proceedings of the Eleventh International Conference on the Simulation and Synthesis of Living Systems, p.xxx. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. [http://www.mitpress.org/... last accessed ??/??/08]

9. Which papers will be published in the Artificial Life journal?

The authors of the 10-20 best pieces of research at ALIFE XI will be invited to rework and resubmit their abstract or full paper for publication as a full paper within special issues of the Artificial Life journal. The decision regarding which papers/abstracts will be selected will be made by the program committee on the basis of both the submitted material and the talks given at the conference.