PLENARY / Keynote / invited Speakers

Plenary speakers

Atsushi Mochizuki

Institute for Frontier Life and Medical Sciences, Kyoto University

Controlling cell fate specification system based on network structure

By the success of modern biology we have many examples of large networks which describe regulatory interactions between a large number of genes. On the other hand, we have a limited understanding for the dynamics of molecular activity based on such complex networks. To overcome the problem, we developed Linkage Logic theory by which important aspects of dynamical properties are determined from information of the regulatory linkages alone. The theory assures that i) any long-term dynamical behavior of the whole system can be identified/controlled by a subset of molecules in the network, and that ii) the subset is determined from the regulatory linkage alone as a feedback vertex set (FVS) of the network. We applied the theory to the gene regulatory network for cell differentiation of ascidian embryo, which includes more than 90 genes. From the analysis, dynamical attractors possibly generated by the network should be identified/controlled by only 5 genes, if the information of the network structure is correct. We verified our prediction by combinatorial experiments of knockdown and overexpression by using ascidian embryos. We found that almost all of the expected cell types, six out of seven major tissues, could be induced by experimental manipulations of these 5 genes.


Atsushi Mochizuki is a Professor at INFRONT (Institute for Frontier Life and Medical Sciences), Kyoto University. He graduated from the Faculty of Sciences, Kyoto University, in 1994, and obtained his PhD in 1999 from Kyushu University. He was promoted to assistant professor in 1998 at Kyushu University, to associate professor in 2002 at National Institute for Basic Biology. He has been a full-PI, Chief Scientist at RIKEN since 2008, and a full professor at Kyoto University since 2018. His researches focus on the mathematical and computational studies on biological phenomena. One of his largest achievements is to establish "Structural Theories" for analyzing dynamics of complex systems from topologies of networks alone. He was awarded 11th JSPS PRIZE (2015) from Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and 1st MIMS Mimura Award (2017).

Gregory Scott Chirikjian

National University of Singapore and Johns Hopkins University

Robotic Self-Reconfiguration, Self-Repair, and Self-Replication

In this talk, the three related topics of robotic self-reconfiguration, self-repair, and self-replication are discussed. This will include a review of past works by many authors, and future directions. Current work on multi-robot team diagnosis and information fusion will also be discussed. This leads to probabilistic formulations of the health of a robotic team, involving sensor uncertainties and calibration issues. In order to quantify the robustness of self-replicating robots, measures of the degree of environmental uncertainty that they can handle need to be computed. The entropy of the set of all possible arrangements (or configurations) of spare parts in the environment is one example of such a measure and has led us to study problems at the foundations of statistical mechanics and information theory. The use of robots to harvest resources in outer space to the benefit of humanity will require robust autonomous teams that can handle uncertainty, and function reliably while using in situ resources to repair and reproduce.


Gregory S. Chirikjian received undergraduate degrees from Johns Hopkins University in 1988, and a Ph.D. degree from the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, in 1992. Since 1992, he has served on the faculty of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, attaining the rank of full professor in 2001. Additionally, from 2004-2007, he served as department chair. Starting in January 2019, he moved the National University of Singapore, where he is serving as Head of the Mechanical Engineering Department.

Chirikjian’s research interests include robotics, applications of group theory in a variety of engineering disciplines, and the mechanics of biological macromolecules. He is a 1993 National Science Foundation Young Investigator, a 1994 Presidential Faculty Fellow, and a 1996 recipient of the ASME Pi Tau Sigma Gold Medal. In 2008, Chirikjian became a fellow of the ASME, and in 2010, he became a fellow of the IEEE. From 2014-15, he served as a program director for the National Robotics Initiative, which included responsibilities in the Robust Intelligence cluster in the Information and Intelligent Systems Division of CISE at NSF. Chirikjian is the author of more than 250 journal and conference papers and the primary author of three books, including Engineering Applications of Noncommutative Harmonic Analysis (2001) and Stochastic Models, Information Theory, and Lie Groups, Vols. 1+2. (2009, 2011). In 2016, an expanded edition of his 2001 book was published as a Dover book under a new title, Harmonic Analysis for Engineers and Applied Scientists.

Auke Jan Ijspeert

EPFL (the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland)

Investigating animal locomotion using biorobots

The ability to efficiently move in complex environments is a fundamental property both for animals and for robots, and the problem of locomotion and movement control is an area in which neuroscience, biomechanics, and robotics can fruitfully interact. In this talk, I will present how biorobots and numerical models can be used to explore the interplay of the four main components underlying animal locomotion, namely central pattern generators (CPGs), reflexes, descending modulation, and the musculoskeletal system. Going from lamprey to human locomotion, I will present a series of models that tend to show that the respective roles of these components have changed during evolution with a dominant role of CPGs in lamprey and salamander locomotion, and a more important role for sensory feedback and descending modulation in human locomotion. I will also present a recent project showing how robotics can provide scientific tools for paleontology. Interesting properties for robot and lower-limb exoskeleton locomotion control will finally be discussed.


Auke Ijspeert is a professor at EPFL (the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland), IEEE Fellow, and head of the Biorobotics Laboratory. He has a B.Sc./M.Sc. in physics from the EPFL (1995), and a PhD in artificial intelligence from the University of Edinburgh (1999). He has been at EPFL since 2002, where he was first a Swiss National Science Foundation assistant professor, then an associate professor (2009), and since 2016 a full professor. His research interests are at the intersection between robotics and computational neuroscience. He is interested in using numerical simulations and robots to gain a better understanding of animal locomotion and movement control, and in using inspiration from biology to design novel types of robots and locomotion controllers (see for instance Ijspeert et al, Science, Vol. 315. no. 5817, pp. 1416 - 1420, 2007 and Ijspeert, Science Vol. 346, no. 6206, 2014). He is also interested in the control of exoskeletons for lower limbs. With his colleagues, he has received paper awards at ICRA2002, CLAWAR2005, IEEE Humanoids 2007, IEEE ROMAN 2014, CLAWAR 2015, and CLAWAR 2019. He is associate editor for Soft Robotics, the International Journal of Humanoid Robotics, and the IEEE Transactions on Medical Robotics and Bionics, and a member of the Board of Reviewing Editors of Science magazine.

Keynote speaker

Kazuki Tsuji

University of the Ryukyus

Understanding the division of labor in ants by trade theories (Tentative)

Abstract TBA


Kazuki Tsuji started his science in the sociobiological study of the parthenogenetic ant Pristomyrmex supervised by Yosiaki Ito in Nagoya. Recently he has extended his scientific interest to the general evolutionary and ecological dynamics including community ecology and sociophysiology. After receiving a Ph.D. from Nagoya University in 1989, he did postdoctoral research at the University of Würzburg, where he was supervised by Bert Hölldobler. He was hired for a tenured position at Toyama University in 1995, and in 2001, he moved to the University of the Ryukyus as a professor.

Invited Speaker

Jan Tommy Gravdahl

Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Modeling and control of underwater snake robots

Delivered in SWARM 2021 OS: Recent Advances in Snake Robots

Abstract TBA


Jan Tommy Gravdahl received the and degrees in Engineering Cybernetics from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway, in 1994 and 1998, respectively. He is since 2005 professor at the Department of Engineering Cybernetics, NTNU, where he also served as Head of Department in 2008-09. He has supervised the graduation of 137 MSc and 14 PhD candidates. He has published five books and more than 250 papers in international conferences and journals. In 2000 and again in 2017, he was awarded the IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology Outstanding Paper.

He is since 2017 senior editor of the IFAC journal Mechatronics, where he also served as AE since 2016, and he is since 2020 associate editor of the IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology. He has been on the editorial board and IPC for numerous international conferences.

His current research interests include mathematical modeling and nonlinear control in general, in particular applied to turbomachinery, marine vehicles, spacecraft, robots, and high-precision mechatronic systems.

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