Stickybot: a gecko-inspired robot. source: Biomimetics and Dexterous Manipulation Labtory, Stanford University.

Robustness – Engineering Science

Stickybot: a gecko-inspired robot. source: Biomimetics and Dexterous Manipulation Labtory, Stanford University.
Stickybot: a gecko-inspired robot. source: Biomimetics and Dexterous Manipulation Labtory, Stanford University.

This Interdisciplinary Workshop was held at University Campus Bio-Medico in Rome, February 5-6, 2015. Is it possible to obtain robustness artificially, or is it a natural property (i.e., is non-living systems robustness distinct from organismic robustness)? Which synthetic models may be inspired by the concept of robustness? In biological systems, robustness comes across different scales, from molecular to plant size and involves change and development aspects, thus becoming a pillar in their dynamics (see the previous Interdisciplinary Workshop on Robustness). What is the definition of robustness in engineering? Which application for the concept of robustness? What technologies does robustness inspire?

A brief survey of possible areas of discussion around the issue we have identified considering our researchers’ expertise and their professional contacts:

  • Macromolecular robustness: stability of macromolecules, ability to react to environment changes without modifying their functionality;
  • Material resistance: mechanical resistance, brittleness, hardness are all material properties, that reflects the ability of solid objects to resist to deformations;
  • Biological dynamics and robustness: the analysis of biological systems dynamics provides patterns of evolution upon perturbation, in a theoretical physics and Systems Engineering frame;
  • Autonomous systems: the ontological definition of autonomy mirrors in mathematical modelling of systems evolving for their own, on the base of a self-consistent dynamics; the autonomy of complex systems is at the basis of robust systems design, thought to be resilient towards attacks or faults;
  • Resilience: it refers to a specific properties of systems to evolve upon specific or random attacks (already cited in the previous point), becoming a generic feature of complex networks (protein networks); critical infrastructure);
  • Environmental robustness: at the ecological scale, the interactions between productive systems and environment is at the very basis of sustainability principles;
  • Software robustness: a robust computational model.
  • Robustness: A systems engineering point of view
    Gabriele Oliva – University Campus Bio-Medico of Rome, Complex Systems and Security Laboratory
  • Robustness through feedback: Benefits and limitations
    Lorenzo Farina – University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Computer Control and Management Engineering
  • Closing rhetorical gaps is healthy for everyone: The robustness of models and the aims of systems biology
    Miles McLeod – TINT Centre of Excellence in the Philosophy of the Social Science, Helsinki, Finland
  • Model-based engineering
    Viola Schiaffonati – Politecnico di Milano, Department of Electronic, Information and Bioengineering
  • News from the ‘twilight zone’: Protein molecules between the crystal and the fluid
    Alessandro Giuliani – Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome
  • Robustness in robotics: Morphology, materials and intelligence
    Dino AccotoUniversity Campus Bio-Medico of Rome, Biomedical Robotics and Biomicrosystems Laboratory
  • Robustness, mechanism, and the counterfactual use of finality in biology
    Marco Buzzoni – University of Macerata, Department of Human Sciences
  • Rules of thumb as paradigms of robust knowledge
    Alfred Nordmann – Institut für Philosophie, Technische Universität Darmstadt
  • Raffaella Campaner – University of Bologna, Department of Philosophy and Communication
Philosophical Steering Committee
Scientific Steering Committee
Local Organizing Committee
With the participation of
With the contribution of

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