I am professor of Artificial Intelligence on the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and visiting professor on the University of York, UK. My research lies in the field of Artificial Intelligence, Artificial Life, Adaptive Collective Systems. My approach to AI is based on Evolutionary Computing and over the last 30+ years I worked on a diverse set of topics.

For example, I worked on the theoretical foundations and applications in health, finance, and traffic management, built a system to evolve Mondriaan and Escher style art and exhibited it in the Haags Gemeentemuseum, researched how artificial societies can emerge in the computer through evolution and learning, invented and tested reproduction mechanisms that use more than two parents, studied how evolutionary processes can be (self-)calibrated, and lately I am active in Evolutionary Robotics.

Over these years I have developed a broad vision on artificial intelligence as a whole and a specific wiew for my own research. The fundamental insight behind my research is:

Given the fact that evolution can produce intelligence, it is plausible that artificial evolution can produce artificial intelligence.

My perspective on artificial evolution overarches centuries as outlined in my Nature paper "From evolutionary computation to the evolution of things".
Regarding artificial intelligence, I distinguish digital AI and embodied AI, that is, AI in a physical or simulated body. I find embodied AI more challangenging and interesting, because it requires the development of both the brain and the body. This is the motivation behind my work on evolutionary robotics. One of the intriguing research questions is: If an environment and a task require some intelligent behavior, how to find an optimal body and an optimal brain, and which of the two is more important for adequate (intelligent) behavior?


Robot Evolution

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Spotlight

TED Talk: Tech Kangaroos

Video of my TEDx Danubia talk “Tech Kangaroos: Evolution at Work”. It started off the publicity in 2011.

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Robot baby is prime time news

The proverbial 15 minutes of fame on national television. (NOS journaal, Dutch)

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A New Frontier of Artificial Life

Video of my talk at the HUB Berlin 2017 “The Robot Baby Project: a New Frontier of Artificial Life”.

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Evolutionary reproduction of Dutch masters

A book chapter about the Mondriaan and Escher evolvers. Quote: “Systems using interactive evolution have proven capable of achieving creativity.”

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Robot brain evolution explained on TV

VPRO TV series “De Volmaakte Mens” shows how e-puck robots get smarter by evolving their brains (English with Dutch subtitles)

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Genesis in the computer – evolution of societies (Dutch)

An accessible article about my EU research project NEW TIES (2004-2007). Intermediair magazine shows the new meaning of a ‘computer society’.

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Technology news website TechCrunch on our project

“Robots date, mate, and procreate 3D printed offspring in ‘Robot Baby’ project”. TechCrunch notes the start of the Industrial Evolution.

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Robot Baby Movie – indeed, the ‘making of’

Made for the Vrije Universiteit Science youtube channel, it introduces the team and gives insights into the Robot Baby Project.

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Daily newspaper de Volkskrant on robot evolution (in Dutch)

Nice article with a great artist impression of the system. Special attention for ethical/safety issues. “You must be able to shut it down at all times”.

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Publications

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Education

I teach the courses Introduction to Business Analytics, Heuristics, Evolutionary Computing (see the VU Study Guide), and Computational Intelligence (see the UvA Study Guide). I also supervise Bachelor projects and Master Thesis projects.

Publicity

My work covered in the media: TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, websites.

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Contact

Head of the Computational Intelligence Group
Department of Computer Science
Faculty of Sciences
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
A: Room T3.41, de Boelelaan 1081a, 1081HV Amsterdam, Netherlands
E: a.e.eiben at vu.nl
T: +31-20-5987758
Secr: +31-20-5987782