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Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures 2011 Print E-mail
Sunday, 13 November 2011

The Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures 2011 Conference took place at Washington, USA on 4-6 November 2011.

The challenge of creating a real-life computational equivalent of the human mind calls for our joint efforts to better understand at a computational level how natural intelligent systems develop their cognitive and learning functions. BICA conference grew up from a AAAI Fall symposium, focusing on the emergent hot topics in computer, brain and cognitive sciences unified by the challenge of replicating the human mind in a computer.

In this event we presented a general model of emotion based on the interpretation of emotional processes as control reorganisations driven by values.

Concurrent control patterns deployed over neural components.

Adaptive systems use feedback as a key strategy to cope with uncertainty and change in their environments. The information fed back from the sensorimotor loop into the control architecture can be used to change different elements of the controller at four different levels: parameters of the control model, the control model itself, the functional organization of the agent and the functional components of the agent. The complexity of such a space of potential configurations is daunting. The only viable alternative for the agent –in practical, economical, evolutionary terms– is the reduction of the dimensionality of the configuration space.

This reduction is achieved both by functionalisation –or, to be more precise, by interface minimization– and by patterning, i.e. the selection among a predefined set of organisational configurations. This last analysis let us state the central problem of how autonomy emerges from the integration of the cognitive, emotional and autonomic systems in strict functional terms: autonomy is achieved by the closure of functional dependency.

This talk shows a general model of how the emotional biological systems operate following this theoretical analysis and how this model is also of applicability to a wide spectrum of artificial systems.

Get the slides of the talk.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 13 November 2011 )
Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures 2012 Print E-mail
Sunday, 13 November 2011

The Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures 2012 Conference took place at Palermo, Italy on October 31-November 2 2012.


We presented a Keynote titled Towards Architectural Foundations for Cognitive Self-aware Systems.


The BICA 2012 conference main purpose is to take a significant step forward towards the BICA Challenge -creating a real-life computational equivalent of the human mind. This challenge apparently calls for a global, multidisciplinary joint effort to develop biologically-inspired dependable agents that perform well enough as to to be fully accepted as autonomous agents by the human society. We say "apparently" because we think that "biologically-inspired" needs to be re-thought due to the mismatch between natural and artificial agent organization and their construction methods: the natural and artificial construction processes. Due to this constructive mismatch and the complexity of the operational requirements of world-deployable machines, the question of dependability becomes a guiding light in the search of the proper architectures of cognitive agents. Models of perception, cognition and action that render self-aware machines will become a critical asset that marks a concrete roadmap to the BICA challenge.

In this talk we will address a proposal concerning a methodology for extracting universal, domain neutral, architectural design patterns from the analysis of biological cognition. This will render a set of design principles and design patterns oriented towards the construction of better machines. Bio-inspiration cannot be a one step process if we we are going to to build robust, dependable autonomous agents; we must build solid theories first, departing from natural systems, and supporting our designs of artificial ones.

Get the slides of the talk.

Last Updated ( Saturday, 03 November 2012 )
From Brains to Systems Print E-mail
Monday, 18 April 2011
The book From Brains to Systems (Hernández, Sanz, Gómez et al.) has been published.

An excerpt from the introduction:

"Science moves in little steps, but also makes its progress with revolutionary discov- eries and concepts that sweep away whole and entire edifices of thinking and replace them with new theories that explain more with less. However, there is a constant in this march, the strive for mathematisation and unification.

The extent to which reverse-engineering of brains will help with technological advance in the engineering of more robust autonomous systems is yet to be clear. Nevertheless, the different approaches offered in this book show a steady progress toward more rigorous methods of analysis and synthesis. This rigour implies that they may eventually converge into a single, unified theory of cognition: the very holy grail of cognitive science and engineering."

From Brains to Systems: Brain-Inspired Cognitive Systems 2010. ISBN 978-1-4614-0163-6. Springer New York, 2011. Series Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, Volume 718.


More details from publisher

Last Updated ( Saturday, 19 November 2011 )
The 15th Annual Meeting of the ASSC Print E-mail
Sunday, 13 June 2010

The ASSC Conference Scientific Study of Consciousness took place at Kyoto, Japan on 9-12 June 2011.

We presented there the poster titled Ten Design Rules for Conscious Systems that was well received but somehow perceived as very distant from the mainstreams of the conference, more focused on humanly endeavours.

In this poster we describe the approach taken by the UPM Autonomous Systems Laboratory for the provision of a theoretical and architectural model of consciousness for the development of technology of full, bounded autonomy.


Control systems theory and architecture can provide valuable insights into the architecture of consciousness and cognition. The quest for the universal controller technology -a technology for building machine minds for any purpose- has advanced by small, both practical and theoretical steps but without a clear convergence into a unified view. However, recent developments in search of improvements in open-environment robustness for autonomous systems –fundamentally in robotics but also in other domains of automatic control- have produced a reactivation of the quest for the very essence of the mental -from a systemic/cybernetic perspective. This talk will present an architecture-centric proposal for a fundamental, model-based control structure that fulfills a basic set of requirements for being an explanation of a functional mind from an access-consciousness and self-consciousness perspective (including associated concepts such as perception, knowledge, thinking, action, etc.). This structure is grounded on systemic, embodied control systems concepts beyond computationalism so as to be realizable in machines and serve as explanation of natural consciousness. This proposal goes from the elementary aspects of sensing and perception to the higher aspects of knowledge, meaning and consciousness. This general approach is captured in the form of general design rules for cognitive architectures. The proposed ten design rules will provide a basic stance for understanding access consciousness and self-consciousness and a catalogue of design features needed both for the engineering of a conscious system of technological and economical value and for the explanation of natural consciousness.

Get more info at the conference website.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 13 November 2011 )
Journal of Mind Theory Print E-mail
Friday, 19 February 2010

Journal of Mind Theory

An ASLab Journal

We all realise that the number of publications in the field of cognitive science is continuously growing. This makes the task of getting a state-of-the-art picture of the field an impossible task for any normal human.

We feel the need for simplification and focusing. We believe that the pursuit of the ultimate understanding of mind shall be easier if we are able to get rid of the decorative literature. While that kind of text usually embellishes the many insights on the nature of mind, a narrower focus on the very core issues is absolutely neccessary. Succinctness becomes a major target.

Hence, in the old way of the hard sciences, we strive for terse formalisations that will minimise the need of ink and paper and will hopefully convey precise, non-interpretable expressions of theories or hypotheses on mind nature.


Under this programme we are trying to launch yet another journal which intends this capture of a formal science of mind. Obviously formality and abstraction has been attempted in the past, but instead of focusing on a concrete formalism and/or a concrete target for formalisation, we open the domain to the mind at large without commiting to a particular language. The commitment is only with the objective: an unified formal theory of mind.

If we are succesful in this simplifying and focusing attempt, then there will be a single journal in the reading pile.

Last Updated ( Friday, 19 February 2010 )
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