5th Workshop on Biological Distributed Algorithms

Friday, July 28th, 2017 in Washington DC, USA

Co-located with PODC 2017

Workshop address:
Marvin Center on the George Washington Univ campus (3rd floor, room 302).

We are excited to announce the fifth workshop on Biological Distributed Algorithms (BDA). BDA is focused on the relationships between distributed computing and distributed biological systems and in particular, on analysis and case studies that combine the two. Such research can lead to better understanding of the behavior of the biological systems while at the same time developing novel algorithms that can be used to solve basic distributed computing problems.

BDA 2017 will include talks on distributed algorithms related to a variety of biological systems. We will devote special attention to communication and coordination in insect colonies (e.g. foraging, navigation, task allocation, construction) and networks in the brain (e.g. learning, decision-making, attention).

Invited speakers

- Timothy Horiuchi (University of Maryland)
- Srinivas Turaga (Janelia Research Campus)
- Zeeshan Rasheed/Khurram Hassan-Shafique (Novateur Research Solutions)
- Talks/Q&A panel with program officers from various granting agencies, including Mitra Basu (NSF), Tracy Kimbrel (NSF), and Marc Steinberg (ONR), that will discuss funding opportunities for BDA-related research.


All attendees must register through the registration website of PODC 2017 at http://people.cs.georgetown.edu/~jfineman/Registration.html. There are several registration packages, so make sure that you choose one that covers the July 28 workshop day.

Early registration deadline ends June 26th.


08:25 - 08:30 - Organziers Welcome

08:30 - 09:10 - Srini Turaga, Janelia Research Campus [Invited] [slides]
Title: A Convolutional Network Model of the Drosophila Visual System

09:10 - 09:35 - Nancy Lynch, Cameron Musco and Merav Parter [slides]
Title: Spiking neural Networks: an algorithmic perspective

09:35 - 10:00 - Sanjoy Dasgupta, Charles Stevens and Saket Navlakha [slides]
Title: Locality-sensitive hashing in the fly olfactory circuit

10:00 - 10:30 - Coffee Break 1

10:30 - 10:55 - Tsvetomira Radeva, Cameron Musco and Nancy Lynch [slides]
Title: New perspectives on algorithmic robustness inspired by ant colony house-hunting

10:55 - 11:20 - Hsin-Hao Su, Lili Su, Anna Dornhaus and Nancy Lynch [slides]
Title: Ant-inspired dynamic task allocation via gossiping

11:20 - 12:00 - Zeeshan Rasheed/Khurram Hassan-Shafique, Novateur Research Solutions [Invited] [slides]
Title: Challenges and Opportunities in Biological Distributed Algorithms

12:00 - 13:15 - Lunch and Posters

13:15 - 13:40 - Yehuda Afek, Yuval Emek and Noa Kolikant [slides]
Title: The synergy of finite state machines

13:40 - 14:05 - Joshua J Daymude, Robert Gmyr, Andrea W Richa, Christian Scheideler and Thim Strothmann [slides]
Title: Convex hull formation for programmable matter

14:05 - 14:30 - Marta Andres Arroyo, Sarah Cannon, Joshua J Daymude, Dana Randall and Andrea Richa [slides]
Title: Local stochastic algorithms for compression and shortcut bridging in programmable matter

14:30 - 15:00 - Coffee Break 2

15:00 - 15:25 - George Fricke and Melanie Moses [slides]
Title: Biologically-inspired distributed spatial search for ground-based foraging swarms

15:25 - 16:05 - Timothy Horiuchi, University of Maryland College Park [Invited] [slides]
Title: Spike Propagation for Path Planning in a Place Cell-based Map

16:05 - 17:30 - NSF + ONR Grant speakers and Panel [Invited]


1. Radu Grosu, Anna Lukina, Scott A. Smolka, Ashish Tiwari and Junxing Yang. Distributed V-Formation with Dynamic Neighborhood Sizing. [poster]

2. Lucas Boczkowski, Emanuele Natale, Ofer Feinerman and Amos Korman. Limitations on Information Dissemination via Noisy Communication and Implications to Animal Group Behavior. [poster]

3. Jeremy Bernstein, Ishita Dasgupta, David Rolnick and Haim Sompolinsky. Markov Transitions between Attractor States in a Recurrent Neural Network. [poster]

4. El Mahdi El Mhamdi, Rachid Guerraoui, Alexandre Maurer and Vladislav Tempez. Learning to Gather without Communication. [poster]

5. Joseph Renzullo, Stephanie Forrest and Melanie Moses. Neutral Networks Enable Distributed Search in Evolution. [poster]

6. Ying Ying Liu and Parimala Thulasiraman. A Self Fixing Intelligent Ant-Based Algorithm for Graph Clustering. [poster]

7. Andrei Kucharavy, El Mahdi El Mhamdi, Rachid Guerraoui and Rong Li. Robustness of Genetic Networks. [poster]

Call for presentations

We solicit submissions of extended abstracts describing recent results relevant to biological distributed computing. We especially welcome extended abstracts describing new insights and / or case studies regarding the relationship between distributed computing and biological systems even if these are not fully formed. Since a major goal of the workshop is to explore new directions and approaches, we especially encourage the submission of ongoing work. Selected contributors would be asked to present, discuss and defend their work at the workshop. By default, the submissions will be evaluated for either oral or poster presentation, though authors may indicate in their submission if it should be only considered for one of the presentation types. Submissions should be in PDF and include title, author information, and a 4-page extended abstract. Shorter submissions are also welcome, particularly for poster presentation.

Please use the following EasyChair submission link: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=bda17

Note: The workshop will not include published proceedings. In particular, we welcome submissions of extended abstracts describing work that has appeared or is expected to appear in other venues.

Important Dates:
May 5, 2017 - Extended abstract submission deadline, 23:59 Honolulu time
May 28, 2017 - Decision notifications
July 28, 2017 - Workshop

Financial support for student/postdoc participants

We will cover the registration fee and up to $100 of travel costs for selected participants at the student/postdoc level. More information about this will be posted soon.

Program / Organizing committee

Ziv Bar-Joseph - CMU
Anna Dornhaus - University of Arizona
Yuval Emek - Technion (Co-chair)
Amos Korman - CNRS and University of Paris Diderot
Nancy Lynch - MIT
Melanie Moses - UNM
Saket Navlakha - Salk Institute (Co-chair)
Merav Parter - MIT
Andrea Richa - ASU
Nir Shavit - MIT