In January 2024, CLEA researchers Tomas Veloz and Stefan Leijnen were invited to speak at the conference “Causal Cognition in Humans and Machines” at the University of Oxford. The gathering was organized by Quantinuum where former CLEA member Prof. Bob Coecke leads the Quantum-Compositional Intelligence team. The conference gathered renowned specialists in various areas related to causal reasoning such as Steven Sloman (Psychology), Yoshua Bengio (Computer Science), and Michael Thomas (Neuroscience and Education).
Tomas talked about "Bridging between Quantum and Living Systems towards Human Cognition and AI”. His talk integrated two streams of research in CLEA, Quantum Cognition and Chemical Organization Theory, to imagine novel forms of AIs with emergent goals - rather than goals imposed by humans. Tomas co-presented with student Olha Sobetska, who will conduct her PhD on this intersection. Stefan's talk "Causality Beyond Shannon" integrated philosophical and informational views on goals. He analyzed the conceptual and technical challenges of embedding machines with goals that are purely semantic rather than informational.
To end the conference in beauty, Bob Coecke and Tomas Veloz performed with their bands at the "Cognitive Jam" at the legendary Jericho pub.
In January, CLEA researcher Tomas Veloz was also one of the invited speakers at the 2024 International Workshop on Mathematical Biology in the Philippines. The event was organized by the University of Philippines and supported by the Philippine Society for Mathematical Biology. Tomas' plenary talk “Can Ecological Communities be Modeled as Autopoietic Reaction Networks?” introduced the reaction networks modeling framework in the context of community ecology. He also hosted a workshop for graduate students about Chemical Organization Theory (COT), a modeling framework that explains self-organization and emergence using reaction networks. COT has been extensively applied by some CLEA researchers over the last years to study the origins of goal-directedness.