Natural computing is the study of computational processes that occur in biological and other naturally-occurring systems, whether these processes occur in silico, in vivo, or in vitro. Many of the ideas underlying natural computing can be traced back to the early days of modern computer science, and the work by visionaries such as Turing and Von Neumann. Since these early days, the field has continued to grow and generate new ideas, leading to the development of distinct research communities in areas such as neural computing, evolutionary algorithms, synthetic biology, and artificial life, to name but a few.
The aim of the Frontiers of Natural Computing workshop, held at the University of York, UK from 10th to 12th September 2012, was to bring people together from the different strands of natural computing, and provide a venue to collectively talk about the future development of the field. With this in mind, we invited speakers and solicited contributions from across the field of natural computing. The resulting programme of talks and poster presentations covered many diverse but related areas of research, including: synthetic biology, systems biology, artificial life, discrete dynamical systems, evolutionary algorithms, neural computing, artificial development, membrane computing, artificial immune systems, information theoretic approaches, hardware architectures and methods for complex systems modeling and analysis.
This special issue contains six articles contributed by delegates who presented at the event. All articles were fully peer reviewed, and we would like to thank the people involved in this process. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all those who attended and helped to organise the event, and we would especially like to acknowledge the generous financial support of the EPSRC (under the grant “Artificial Biochemical Networks: Computational Models and Architectures,” ref. EP/F060041/1), which enabled us to offer free attendance to delegates, and provide bursaries to student attendees.
@article(Lones-SI-2013, author = "Michael Lones and Andy Tyrrell and Susan Stepney and Leo Caves", title = "Special issue on the frontiers of natural computing", journal = "Natural Computing", volume = 12, number = 4, pages = "441-2", doi = "10.1007/s11047-013-9402-9", year = 2013 )