The past two decades have seen the formation of new research fields, crossing traditional boundaries between biology, computer science, and cognitive science. Known variously as artificial life, simulation of adaptive behaviour, computational neuroscience and evolutionary computation, the common theme is a focus on adaptation in natural and artificial systems. This research has the potential both to further our understanding of living and adaptive mechanisms in nature, and to construct artificial systems which show the same flexibility, robustness, and capacity for adaptation as is seen in animals. The international research community is sufficiently large to support many series of biennial conferences on various aspects of the field (e.g. GECCO, CEC, ALife, ECAL, SAB, NIPS, CNS, PPSN), and there are now numerous international journals for archival publication of significant research findings.
The Evolutionary and Adaptive Systems (EASy) Research Group at the University of Sussex Department of Informatics is now widely recognised as one of the world's foremost groups of researchers in this area, with approximately 50 people actively engaged in research. Students on the EASy MSc will be involved in this lively interdisciplinary research environment: they are expected to attend the regular ALERGIC seminar series, the teaching faculty for the MSc come mainly from the EASy group, and each students' summer research project will normally be supervised by a member of the group.
At the end of the course, students will have been trained to a standard where they are capable of pursuing doctoral research in any area of Evolutionary and Adaptive Systems; and of applying those techniques in industry.