30 Years of Computational Autopoiesis:
A Review

Barry McMullin


© 2004The MIT Press

The final version of this article has been accepted for publication in Artificial Life, Vol. 10, Issue 3, Summer 2004
Artificial Life is published by The MIT Press.

Dublin City University
Research Institute for Networks and Communications Engineering
Artificial Life Laboratory


Computational Autopoiesis--the realisation of autopoietic entities in computational media--holds an important and distinctive role within the field of Artificial Life. Its earliest formulation by Francisco Varela, Humberto Maturana and Ricardo Uribe was seminal in demonstrating the use of an artificial, computational, medium to explore the most basic question of the abstract nature of living systems - over a decade in advance of the first Santa Fe Workshop on Artificial Life. The research programme it originated has generated substantive demonstrations of progressively richer, life-like, phenomena. It has also sharply illuminated both conceptual and methodological problems in the field. This paper provides an integrative overview of the sometimes disparate work in this area, and argues that Computational Autopoiesis continues to provide an effective framework for addressing key open problems in Artificial Life.

Copyright © 2004 All Rights Reserved.
Timestamp: 2004-06-14