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Held as part of:
2013 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation
Karlsruhe, Germany
May 6th-10th 2013

The convention is organised by the International Center for Unconventional Computing and Bristol Robotics Laboratory.

21/2/2013 UPDATE: Extended Submission Dates

26/2/2013 UPDATE: Keynote Presenters Change

19/3/2013 UPDATE: Decision/Final Submission Date Change

1/4/2013 UPDATE: Workshop Program and Program Committee Included

7/5/2013 UPDATE: Program Updated


Classical approaches in control cannot cope with real world conditions and the need for massive parallelism; hence novel control methods are needed. Good candidates are the so-called unconventional computing methods, where biological and biologically-inspired methods, primarily from the cellular/bacterial level, are exploited for their natural parallelism to tackle computational complexity, while unconventional hardware, i.e. slime mold, biological computers, BZ reactions, is used as a novel physical layer exploring the same natural features.

Natural biological and chemical systems offer a wealth of ideas for how to solve such problems, as do unconventional approaches that have been proven to model biological systems well, such as memristors and cellular automata. Recent success in biomimetics using unconventional approaches could revolutionise robotic hardware and control. This workshop will present the current state of the art in unconventional computing approaches: i.e. memristors, biological and neuromorphic systems, excitable media and cellular automata, and demonstrate how these can be implemented for robot control.

The workshop will bring together researchers from around the world who are working with alternative computational methods and are applying their results in the context of robotics and automation. Also, researchers not involved with unconventional computing will benefit by having the opportunity to come in contact with the most exciting results on the field that can be applied to their own research. The aim would be to establish a common understanding about the state of the field and draw a road map on where the research is heading, highlight the issues and discuss the possible solutions.

Unconventional Approaches of Interest:

Keynote Presenters

Andrew Adamatzky, University of the West of England, UK
Biological and chemical computers for robot control

Paolo Arena,Universita degli Studi di Catania, Italy and
Roland Strauss, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany
Bio-inspired control, neuromorphic systems

Georgios Sirakoulis, Democritus University of Thrace, Greece
Cellular automata


10:00 – 10:30Coffee
10:30Opening Remarks
10:35Keynote – Andrew Adamatzky
Physarum Chip: Growing Computers from Slime Mould
11:05V. Kalogeiton, D. Papadopoulos and G. Sirakoulis
Implementation of a Novel Physarum-Inspired and CA-based Single-Camera SLAM Method
11:20T. Henderson, K. Luthy and E. Grant
Reaction-Diffusion Computation in Wireless Sensor Networks
11:35A. Vázquez-Otero, J. Faigl, N. Duro and R. Dormido
Reaction-Diffusion Process Based Computational Model for Mobile Robot Exploration Task
11:50 – 12:00Short Break
12:00E. Gale, B. de Lacy Costello and A. Adamatzky
Does the D.C. Response of Memristors Allow Robotic Short-Term Memory and a Possible Route to Artificial Time Perception?
12:15M. Milford, A. Jacobson and G. Wyeth
Using Performance-Based Evaluation to Close the Loop between Biological and Robotic Navigation
12:50 – 14:00Lunch Break
14:00Keynote – Georgios Sirakoulis
Cellular Automata for the Advancement of Robotics
14:30I. Georgilas, A. Adamatzky and C. Melhuish
Manipulating with excitations: Waves or gliders?
14:45J. Zabkar and A. Leonardis
Learning Compositional Hierarchies of a Sensorimotor System
15:00J. Filipe Ferreira and J. Dias
Hierarchical Log-Spherical Inference Grid – An Unconventional Approach to Robotic Perception and Action
15:30 – 16:00Coffee Break
16:00Keynote – Paolo Arena and Roland Strauss
Reaction-Diffusion Neural Systems and Biorobotics: How the Genetic Model Insect Fruit Fly Can Inspire Design and Control of Autonomously Roving Robots
16:30E. Gale, B. de Lacy Costello and A. Adamatzky
Design of a Hybrid Robot Control System using Memristor-Model and Ant-Inspired Based Information Transfer Protocols
16:45A. Abdul Khaliq, M. Di Rocco and A. Saffiotti
Stigmergic Algorithms for Simple Robotic Devices
17:00Victor Erokhin
Organic Memristive Devices and Networks as Key Elements for Robotic Systems

Organising Committee

Ella Gale
Ella Gale at the International Center for Unconventional Computing and Memristors at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory
University of the West of England, UK.
ella DOT gale AT

Ioannis Georgilas
Ioannis at the International Center for Unconventional Computing and Cellular Automata at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory
University of the West of England, UK.
Giannis DOT Georgilas AT

Paolo Arena
Paolo Arena
University of Catania, Italy.

Georgios Sirakoulis
Georgios Sirakoulis
Democritus University of Thrace, Greece.
gsirak AT ee DOT duth DOT gr

Victor Erokhin
Victor Erokhin
University of Parma, Italy.
victor DOT erokhin AT fis DOT unipr DOT it

Programme Committee

Amalia Tsanaka, Bristol Robotics Laboratory, UK
Antonia Tzemanaki, Bristol Robotics Laboratory, UK
Ben De Lacy Costello, University of the West of England, UK
David Howard, University of the West of England, UK
Guy Cohen, University of California, USA
Jeff Jones, University of the West of England, UK
Luca Patanè, University of Catania, Italy
Martin Pearson, Bristol Robotics Laboratory, UK
Paul Bremner, Bristol Robotics Laboratory, UK

Important Dates and Submission Process

Deadline: Midnight, UK time, of 4th March, 2013

Notification of acceptance: 20th March 2013
Final versions for inclusion in proceedings: 26th March 2013.
Workshop at ICRA: 10th of May, 2013

Paper format:

The submitted paper must aiming on initiating a creative discussion that will drive forward the field of Unconventional Computing in the Robotics, Automation and Control environment. Within this context the length of the papers will be short, 2-3 pages in length prepared following the guidelines in the IEEE Robotic and Automation Society conference paper preparation webpage.

Please submit contributed papers via the Easychair submission system at

Please find here the Call for Papers in pdf format.


The submitted papers will be included in the official ICRA workshop proceedings.
Furthermore, selected papers from the workshop will be extended and be published in a special issue of the the International Journal of Unconventional Computing.