7th Workshop on Biological Distributed Algorithms

July 29th, 2019 in Toronto, Canada

Co-located with PODC 2019

We are excited to announce the 7th 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.

Invited speakers

- Danny Forger, U Michigan [website]
- Joel Levine, U Toronto [website]
- William Ryu, U Toronto [website]
- Jared Saia, UNM [website]


All attendees must register through the registration website of PODC 2019 at https://www.podc.org/podc2019/registration/. If you only plan to attend the Workshop, select the 'Workshop/Tutorials 1 (July 29th)' option.

Early registration deadline ends June 30th.


08:25 - 08:30 - Organziers Welcome

Ants Part I

08:30 - 09:00 - Jared Saia, UNM [Invited] [slides]
Title: TBA

09:00 - 09:20 - Anna Dornhaus, Victor Paat and Kenneth Chapin. [slides]
Title: Collective contests: ant colonies invest in defense according to their opponent, and group size interacts with resources held.

09:20 - 09:40 - Arjun Chandrasekhar, James Marshall, Saket Navlakha and Deborah M Gordon. [slides]
Title: Better tired than lost: turtle ant trail networks favor coherence over shortest paths.

09:40 - 10:00 - Nitika Sharma and Raghavendra Gadagkar. [slides] [pdf]
Title: Spatial organization of food distribution on the nests of the primitively eusocial paper wasp Ropalidia marginata.

10:00 - 10:30 - Coffee Break 1

Ants Part II + Neuroscience Part I

10:30 - 11:00 - William Ryu, U Toronto [Invited] [slides]
Title: Measuring and modeling how C. elegans explores its environment

11:00 - 11:10 - Hsin-Hao Su and Nicole Wein. [slides]
Title: Lower Bounds for Dynamic Distributed Task Allocation.

11:10 - 11:30 - Anna Dornhaus, Nicole Leitner, Nancy Lynch, Frederik Mallmann-Trenn and Dominik Pajak. [slides]
Title: Remember the Past and Forget Thresholds.

11:30 - 12:00 - Discussion

12:00 - 13:00 - Lunch

Neuroscience Part II + Programmable Matter

13:00 - 13:20 - Yael Hitron and Merav Parter. [slides]
Title: Counting to Ten with Two Fingers: Compressed Counting with Spiking Neurons.

13:20 - 13:40 - Lili Su, Chia-Jung Chang and Nancy Lynch. [slides]
Title: Spike-Based Winner-Take-All Computation: Fundamental Limits and Order-Optimal Circuits.

13:40 - 13:50 - Mien Brabeeba Wang and Nancy Lynch. [slides]
Title: Integrating Temporal Information to Spatial Information in a Neural Circuit.

13:50 - 14:00 - Jorge Lobo and Nava Rubin. [slides]
Title: Continual Boltzmann Sampling of Approximate Solutions to NP-hard Optimization Problems.

14:00 - 14:30 - Joel Levine, U Toronto [Invited] [slides]
Title: TBA

14:30 - 14:40 - Break & Catch up

14:40 - 15:00 - Yuval Emek, Shay Kutten, Ron Lavi and William K. Moses Jr. [slides] [pdf]
Title: Deterministic Leader Election in Programmable Matter.

15:00 - 15:20 - Yehuda Afek, Yuval Emek and Noa Kolikant. [slides]
Title: Selecting a Leader in a Network of Finite State Machines.

15:20 - 15:30 - Kristian Hinnenthal, Christian Scheideler and Dorian Rudolph. [slides]
Title: Fast Shape Formation with Hybrid Programmable Matter.

15:30 - 16:00 - Coffee Break 2

Grab Bag

16:00 - 16:20 - John Erickson, Abhinav Aggarwal and Melanie Moses. [slides] [pdf]
Title: On the Minimal Set of Inputs Required for Efficient Neuro-Evolved Foraging.

16:20 - 16:30 - Alberto Ancona, Ayesha Bajwa, Nancy Lynch and Frederik Mallmann-Trenn. [slides]
Title: How to Color a French Flag: Biologically Inspired Algorithms for Scale-Invariant Patterning.

16:30 - 17:00 - Danny Forger, U Michigan [Invited] [slides]
Title: Large-scale neuronal modeling on GPUs

17:00 - 17:10 - Abhinav Aggarwal, William Vining, Diksha Gupta, Jared Saia and Melanie Moses. [slides] [pdf]
Title: A Most Irrational Foraging Algorithm.

17:10 - 17:20 - Shlomi Dolev, Ram Prasadh Narayanan and Christian Scheideler. [slides]
Title: Self Synchronized Radio Transmission of Nanorobots.

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. Submissions should be in PDF and include title, author information, and a 4-page extended abstract. Shorter submissions are also welcome.

Please use the following EasyChair submission link: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=bda2019

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 6, 2019 - Extended abstract submission deadline, 23:59 AoE time
May 29, 2019 - Decision notifications
July 29, 2019 - Workshop

Program Committee

Ziv Bar-Joseph - CMU
Anna Dornhaus - University of Arizona
Ila Fiete - MIT
Amos Korman - CNRS and University of Paris Diderot
Nancy Lynch - MIT
Melanie Moses - UNM
Calvin Newport - Georgetown
Merav Parter - Weizmann Institute
Ted Pavlic - ASU
Andrea Richa - ASU

PC Chairs

Yuval Emek - Technion
Saket Navlakha - Salk Institute