Evolutionary and Adaptive Systems Research Group (EASY)


EASY is concerned with the interfaces between the biological and computational sciences, particularly with reference to furthering understandings of brains and minds. Members of the group have had, and continue to enjoy, extensive funding from AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, Leverhulme, RCUK, the European Commission, TSB, philanthropic donations and industry.  

The group is involved in a wide range of research involving a number of interacting themes. These include:

Computational neuroscience and neural system
There are many strands of work in this area including: the computational neuroscience of olfaction and chemical sensing; hybrid (computer-neural) systems; dynamical principles of brain development; modelling complex dynamics and plasticity underlying learning and reconfiguration in neural circuits; computational and robotic models of behaviour generating circuits; artificial neural system for robot control. See Centre for Computational Neuroscience and Robotics (CCNR) for further details. There is also significant computational neuroscience effort relating to consciousness science (see below).

Members involved include: Berthouze, Husbands, Philippides, Nowotny, Seth, Thornton

Consciousness Science
See The Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science (SCCS)(co-directed by Anil Seth) which focuses on basic science that seeks to unravel the complex brain mechanisms that generate consciousness, along with research that translates insights about the mechanisms of consciousness to the clinical domains.

Members involved include: Chrisley, Holland, Seth

Adaptive/bio-inspired/cognitive robotics
Bio-inspired robotics, including the development of novel neural controllers; evolutionary robotics; insect-inspired navigation; anthropomimetic robotics. See also CCNR.

Members involved include: Harvey, Holland, Husbands, Philippides, Nowotny

Artificial Life and Adaptive Behaviour
Computational and robotic models in neuroethology; models of embodied cognition; action selection; group behaviours; computational and robotic models of mechanism underlying adaptive behaviour. See also CCNR.

Members involved include: Chrisley, Husbands, Philippides, Nowotny, Seth, Thornton

Creativity, Creative Systems and interactions between Art and Science
Theories of creativity (see e.g. Boden’s influential The Creative Mind: Myths and Mechanisms); development of computer and robot-based creative systems; collaborations with artists and musicians (including a long running CCNR/EASY artist-in-residence scheme).

Members involved include: Boden, Brown, Chrisley, Husbands, Seth, Thornton, Whitby

Complex adaptive systems
Network dynamics, including oscillatory and chaotic dynamics; network theory; information theoretic approaches to adaptive systems, including embodied and cognitive systems.

Members involved include: Berthouze, Husbands, Philippides, Nowotny, Seth, Thornton  

Evolutionary Systems, Machine Learning, Applications of Bio-inspired Technology
Theory and applications of evolutionary computing, including collaborations with industry; theory and applications of machine learning; models of natural evolutionary processes; modelling evolvability in artificial and natural systems;  applications of bio-inspired technology, including swarm intelligence; applications of image processing in biology.

Members involved include: Holland, Harvey, Husbands, Nowotny, Philippides, Thornton

History of Cognitive Science and Cybernetics
Boden’s Mind as Machine: A History of Cognitive Science is the most extensive work published in this field. Holland and Husbands are active in research on the history of British Cybernetics, including on the Ratio Cluband Brown has written extensively on the history of interactions between art and science.     

Members involved include:Boden, Brown, Holland, Husbands

Philosophy of AI and Cognitive Science
Philosophy of AI, Alife, Cognitive Science; philosophy of mind; artificial mentality, especially artificial intelligence, artificial emotion and artificial consciousness; non-conceptual representation and experience; social and ethical implications of computing and AI; dynamical, embodied and enactive approaches to cognition. See also COGS.

Members involved include: Boden, Chrisley, Harvey, Thornton, Torrance, Whitby

For further details, explore the links to the Research Centres EASy is involved in, as well as the pages of individual members.