Phylogeny, ontogeny, and epigenesis: Three sources of biological inspiration for softening hardware

Eduardo Sanchez, Daniel Mange, Moshe Sipper, Marco Tomassini, Andres Perez-Uribe, André Stauffer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Living beings are complex systems exhibiting a range of desirable qualifications that have eluded realization by traditional engineering methodologies. In recent years we are witness to a growing interest in Nature exhibited by engineers, wishing to imitate the observed processes, thereby creating powerful problem-solving methodologies. If one considers Life on earth since its very beginning, three levels of organization can be distinguished: the phylogenetic level concerns the temporal evolution of the genetic programs within individuals and species, the ontogenetic level concerns the developmental process of a single multicellular organism, and the epigenetic level concerns the learning processes during an individual organism's lifetime. In analogy to Nature, the space of bioitlspired systems can be partitioned along these three axes, phylogeny, ontogeny, and epigenesis, giving rise to the POE model. This paper is an exposition and examination of bio-inspired systems within the POE framework. We first discuss each of the three axes separately, considering the systems created to date and plotting directions for continued progress along the axis in question. We end our exposition by a discussion of possible research directions, involving the construction of bio-inspired systems that are situated along two, and ultimately all three axes. This presents a vision for the future which will see the advent of novel systems, inspired by the powerful examples provided by Nature.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEvolvable Systems
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Biology to Hardware - 1st International Conference, ICES 1996, Proceedings
EditorsTetsuya Higuchi, Masaya Iwata, Weixin Liu
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)3540631739, 9783540631736
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1997
Externally publishedYes
Event1st International Conference on Evolvable Systems, ICES 1996 - Tsukuba, Japan
Duration: 7 Oct 19968 Oct 1996

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference1st International Conference on Evolvable Systems, ICES 1996


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