In nature, brains are built through a process of biological development in which many aspects of the network of neurons and connections change are shaped by external information received through sensory organs. Biological development mechanisms such as axon guidance and dendrite pruning have been shown to rely on neural activity. Despite this, most artificial neural network (ANN) models do not include developmental mechanisms and regard learning as the adjustment of connection weights, while some that do use development restrain it to a period before the ANN is used. It is worthwhile to understand the cognitive functions offered by development and to investigate the fundamental questions raised by artificial neural development. In this workshop, we will explore existing and future approaches that aim to incorporate development into ANNs. Invited speakers will present their work with neural networks, both artificial and biological, in the context of development. Accepted submissions on contemporary work in this field will be presented and we will hold an open discussion on the topic.

2019 Workshop

The 2nd edition of the Developmental Neural Networks Workshop will be held as a part of ALIFE 2019 in Newcastle, UK on Monday, July 29th, 2019.


We welcome anyone to participate and encourage the submission of extended abstracts of 2-4 pages (MIT Press format). We are open to submissions concerning a variety of neural development topics, from hand-written rules to evolved systems, and from conceptual work to experimental results. Accepted submissions will be distributed online and presented during the workshop. Abstracts must be submitted via email to devonn@irit.fr by June 3, 2019.

Important Dates

  • Abstract Submission: June 3, 2019
  • Author Notification: June 17, 2019
  • Workshop: Monday July 29, 2019
  • ALIFE: July 29 - August 2, 2019


The organizers can be contacted at devonn@irit.fr.


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