GSO 5 logo

Fifth International Workshop on
Guided Self-Organization

The University of Sydney and CSIRO are pleased to host the 5th International Workshop on Guided Self-Organization, September 26-28, 2012.  Please join us!

Research Aims and Topics

The goal of Guided Self-Organization (GSO) is to leverage the strengths of self-organization while still being able to direct the outcome of the self-organizing process. GSO typically has the following features: (i) an increase in organization (structure and/or functionality) over some time; (ii) the local interactions are not explicitly guided by any external agent; (iii) task-independent objectives are combined with task-dependent constraints.

What is common to many examples of GSO is the characterization of a system-environment loop (e.g., sensorimotor or perception-action loop) in information-theoretic terms. For instance, given an agent's behavior, the empowerment measures the amount of Shannon information that the agent can "inject into" its sensors through the environment, affecting future actions and future perceptions. On the other hand, maximization of the predictive information or excess entropy enables an adaptive/evolutionary change in controllers' logic in such a way that the system becomes coordinated. Methods relying on the use of predictive information in a sensorimotor process may produce explicit learning rules for the agent optimizing its behavior. However, the lack of a broadly applicable mathematical framework across multiple scales and contexts leaves GSO methodology incomplete. Devising such a framework and identifying common principles of guidance are the main themes of GSO workshops.

The GSO-2012 workshop will bring together invited experts and researchers in self-organizing systems, with particular emphasis on the information- and graph-theoretic foundations of GSO and the information dynamics of adaptive systems.


The workshop program will include 3 days of presentations, each day with three keynote talks (1 hour each), and up to 7 scheduled presentations (30 minutes or more, depending upon the number of accepted talks).

The following topics are of special interest: information-theoretic measures of complexity, nonlinear dynamics, complex networks, information-driven self-organization (IDSO), applications of GSO to systems biology, computational neuroscience, cooperative and modular robotics, swarm intelligence, and machine learning.

Submissions to the workshop are extended abstracts (one page). Authors of accepted submissions will present the content to the workshop. It is expected that post-workshop publication of selected papers will follow in a special journal issue (as has been the case for previous GSO workshops). Selected papers of GSO-2008 were published by the Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) Journal, in the Special Issue on Guided Self-Organization (full text papers online here). A special issue of Theory in Biosciences is in press with selected papers from GSO-2009 online. Selected papers from GSO-2010 and GSO-2011 are under review in a special/topical issue of Advances in Complex Systems.