Satellite: Origins of Life: A Problem for Complexity Science

Wednesday, September 30, 2015
8:30 am – 5:00 pm
Hilton DoubleTree:  Fiesta II

Satellite Organizers:

Hyunju Kim, Arizona State University, USA
Nicholas Mathis, Arizona State University, USA
Paul Davies, Arizona State University, USA
Sara Walker, Arizona State University, USA


There is a vast gulf separating our current understanding of the simplest form of living systems and the most complex chemical systems: even the most complex chemical reaction networks we can engineer do not approach the complexity of life. Bridging this gap, by creating new frameworks and developing quantitative tools, would shed light on many facets of biological complexity as well as evolutionary theory, cancer biology, and development biology.

The themes for this satellite session are “Can complex systems science solve the problem of life’s origin?” and “What can we learn about complex systems from the origin of life?”. Therefore, in the satellite session, we intend to address the origin of life from various perspectives as well as review the latest advancements. We also hope to initiate discussions and future collaborations that will significantly advance our understanding of the subject.

The list of topics to be covered in the satellite session is as follows:
• The fundamental principals governing biological systems.
• Natural selection of forms as a physical process.
• Evolution of chemical and biochemical networks.
• The role of informational architecture in the global organization of living state.
• Complexity measurement to characterize nature of living systems.


Conceptual Advances in Origins of Life Research
Paul Cassell, Arizona State University, USA

The Evolution of Metabolic Communities: Computational Models and Empirical Results
Harrison Smith, Arizona State University, USA
Hyunju Kim, Arizona State University, USA
Jason Raymond, Arizona State University, USA
Sara I. Walker, Arizona State University, USA

Structural Thermodynamics of Agency
James Crutchfield, University of California, Davis, USA

The Free Energy Needed for Computation: Implications for Evolution
David Wolpert, Santa Fe Institute, USA

Bio from Bit: Information Transfer Distinguishes Biological Networks from Random Networks
Hyunju Kim, Arizona State University, USA

Maybe We Should Apply Biology to Physics, Not the Other Way Round?
Michael Lachmann, Santa Fe Institute, USA
Rostislav Matveev, Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences, Germany

Emergence of Life As a First Order Phase Transition
Cole Mathis, Arizona State University, USA
Sara I. Walker, Arizona State University, USA

Aggregative Group Formation in the Transition to Multicellularity
Eric Libby, Santa Fe Institute, USA

Implications of Open-Ended Evolution in a Deterministic Universe
Alyssa Adams, Arizona State University, USA
Sara I. Walker, Arizona State University, USA

Is Life A Cosmic Imperative?
Paul Davies, Beyond Center, Arizona State University, USA