4th Workshop on Biological Distributed Algorithms

Monday July 25, 2016 in Chicago, IL USA

Co-located with PODC 2016

Workshop address:
Loyola University Chicago
Corboy Law Center
Building Address: 25 E. Pearson St.‌
Room CLC 208

We are excited to announce the fourth 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 2016 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

Bernard Chazelle (Princeton)
Melanie Moses (UNM)
Konrad Kording (Northwestern)


All attendees must register through the registration website of PODC 2016 at http://www.podc.org/podc2016/registration/. There are several registration packages, so make sure that you choose one that covers (possibly among other activities) the July 25 workshop day. During the registration process, you will be asked to indicate the workshops that you plan to attend. Please make sure to tick the Biological Distributed Algorithms checkbox (you may tick several checkboxes).

Early registration deadline ends June 27th.


08:25 - 08:30 - Organziers: Welcome

08:30 - 09:10 - Melanie Moses, UNM [Invited] [slides]
Title: Complex Collective Behaviors from Simple Algorithms in Ants T Cells and Robot Swarms

09:10 - 09:35 - Anna Dornhaus and Evan Kelemen [Contributed] [slides]
Title: Benefits of individual variation in collective systems: individual efficiency, robustness, flexibility, and cost in social insects

09:35 - 10:00 - Arjun Chandrasekhar, Deborah Gordon, Saket Navlakha. [Contributed]
Title: Repairing network failures: a distributed algorithm inspired by arboreal turtle ants

10:00 - 10:30 - Coffee Break 1

10:30 - 10:55 - Cameron Musco, Hsin-Hao Su and Nancy Lynch. [Contributed] [slides] [reading]
Title: Ant-Inspired Density Estimation via Random Walks

10:55 - 11:20 - El Mahdi El Mhamdi and Rachid Guerraoui. [Contributed] [slides] [reading]

Title: When Neurons Fail

11:20 - 12:00 - Konrad Kording, Northwestern [Invited] [slides]
Title: What kinds of algorithms would it take for a neuroscientist to understand a microprocessor?

12:00 - 13:00 - Lunch

13:00 - 13:45 - Poster Session

13:45 - 14:10 - Dan Alistarh, James Aspnes, David Eisenstat, Rati Gelashvili and Ron Rivest. [Contributed] [slides] [reading]
Title: Time-Space Trade-offs in Molecular Computation

14:10 - 14:35 - Junxing Yang, Radu Grosu, Scott A. Smolka and Ashish Tiwari [Contributed] [slides]
Title: V-Formation as Optimal Control

14:35 - 15:00 - Zahra Derakhshandeh, Robert Gmyr, Andrea W. Richa, Christian Scheideler and Thim Strothmann. [Contributed] [slides]
Title: Universal Shape Formation for Programmable Matter

15:00 - 15:30 - Coffee Break 2

15:30 - 15:55 - Lucas Boczkowski, Amos Korman and Emanuele Natale. [Contributed] [slides] [reading]
Title: Self-Stabilizing Broadcast with O(1)-Bit Messages

15:55 - 16:35 - Bernard Chazelle, Princeton [Invited]
Title: How Do We Analyze Network-Based Dynamical Systems?

16:35 - 17:00 - Closing remarks and discussion


1. Shlomi Dolev, Sergey Frenkel, Michael Rosenblit, Ram Prasadh Narayanan and Muni Venkateswarlu K. Energy Harvesting in-vivo Nano-Robots in Caterpillar Swarm [poster] [reading]

2. Julie Miller. Slave-making ants as an alternative model of collective decision-making [poster]

3. Xiaohui Guo, Michael R. Lin, Kang Yun and Jennifer Fewell. Environmental and spatial heterogeneity’s effects on information flow in ant colonies: An agent-based model study

4. Yipei Guo, Mikhail Tikhonov and Michael Brenner. Natural local growth rules can lead to metabolically efficient colony structure

5. Clarissa Bruno Tuxen, Sergio Gramacho and Avani Wildani. Socially Driven Computer Networks

6. Daniel Charbonneau and Anna Dornhaus. Who needs 'lazy' ants? How inactive workers can increase colony flexibility and robustness

7. Vivek Mishra and Dr Fumin Zhang. A Bio-inspired Souce Seeking Algorithm using Stochastic Optimization Technique

8. Xiaohui Guo, Jennifer Fewell and Kang Yun. Does individual variation matter in spreading alarm signal on social network of seed harvester ants’ colonies (Pogonomyrmex californicus)?

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=bda20160

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: [UPDATED ON APRIL 20th TO EXTEND DEADLINE TO April 30th]
April 30, 2016 - Extended abstract submission deadline, 23:59 Honolulu time
May 25, 2016 - Decision notifications
June 15, 2016 - Deadline for registration and financial support requests
July 25, 2016 - Workshop

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
Saket Navlakha - Salk Institute (Co-chair)

Travel Fellowships

We will have several NSF-sponsored travel fellowships for students and post-docs available. Applications will be handled after the decision notification (May 25th).