Robustness in Neurological Systems

robust1UPAn Interdisciplinary Workshop held on 2015, November 13-15 at the University of Pittsburgh. The brain is the poster child for plasticity in biology. Neurons and networks constantly rebuild themselves in response to the continual and ongoing change in component ion channels and receptors that are necessary for neuronal signaling.  In addition external changes drive homeostatic responses.  These are way in which robust responses can be triggered.  Recent modeling and experimental work have described the mechanisms, constraints, and outcomes of robust dynamics in the brain.  This workshop is designed to maximize productive interaction in large and small groups among scientists and philosophers.  Such engagement can “test” and refine philosophical analyses of robustness as in current scientific practice. At the same time, scientists can reflect on their practices with the tools that philosophers bring to the discussion. Continue reading Robustness in Neurological Systems

Robustness – Engineering Science

Stickybot: a gecko-inspired robot. source: Biomimetics and Dexterous Manipulation Labtory, Stanford University.
Stickybot: a gecko-inspired robot. source: Biomimetics and Dexterous Manipulation Labtory, Stanford University.

This Interdisciplinary Workshop was held at University Campus Bio-Medico in Rome, February 5-6, 2015. Is it possible to obtain robustness artificially, or is it a natural property (i.e., is non-living systems robustness distinct from organismic robustness)? Which synthetic models may be inspired by the concept of robustness? In biological systems, robustness comes across different scales, from molecular to plant size and involves change and development aspects, thus becoming a pillar in their dynamics (see the previous Interdisciplinary Workshop on Robustness). What is the definition of robustness in engineering? Which application for the concept of robustness? What technologies does robustness inspire? Continue reading Robustness – Engineering Science

Robustness in Biological Systems

15531726881_d61f680f97_oAn Interdisciplinary Workshop held at University Campus Bio-Medico in Rome, October 14-15, 2014.

With increasing interest in systems biology, properties at the system level such as robustness have attracted relevant scientific research.Robustness is a central concept in physics, chemistry and engineering, as it deals with different aspects of systems adapting to boundary changes without loosing their functional initial configuration. The concept of robustness is really important to define the organism as it reveals its individuality and persistence, its ability to maintain the initial functional structure through contingent changes, i.e. internal and external perturbations.

The aim of this workshop is to work on the philosophical foundations of the promising concept of robustness, focusing particularly on its relevance in order to characterize the peculiarity of living systems dynamics and relationships. Continue reading Robustness in Biological Systems