About the ShanghAI Lectures

About the ShanghAI Lectures


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Lecture content

The ShanghAI Lectures consist of several classroom meetings via videoconference. The guest lectures provide additional information on interesting AI and Robotics topics. The recordings of both lectures and guest lectures will be made available on the ShanghAI Lectures site.

Group Projects

As participating students you take part in the assignment program, where you work on international group projects that are related to the content of the lectures. Successfully completing a project will yield a "certificate of achievement" at the end of the course. Students are free to choose their communication tools (flashmeeting, Skype, 3-D environment, website, e-mail, chat…). You may for example want to join as avatars here: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Marybank/192/166. See the Kōan page for details on the group projects.

Participating students will also get licenses for the Cyberbotics Webots robotic simulator!


The student registration for the 2015 ShanghAI Lectures will open around the end of October. At this point (but not before) you can create a profile on the website. You are welcome to use the website for your communication when you work on the projects with your group. This website provides different services like private messaging and the interactive group board where you can post files or embedded media (e. g. youtube links) and share your thoughts. You may also want to join as avatars here: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Marybank/192/166


The lectures will take place on Thursdays from 9:00–11:00 CET:

  • General rehearsal: 8 October 2015
  • First lecture: 15 October 2015
  • Last lecture: 17 December 2015

Coordination Team

We hope that you and your students would join this on-going experiment this fall term (we still have a few available slots). If you are interested to know more, please write to fabio.bonsignorio@gmail.com.

Book (mandatory)

htb_english How the Body Shapes the Way We Think – A New View of Intelligence

by Rolf Pfeifer and Josh C. Bongard, MIT Press, November 2006, ISBN 0-262-16239

Also available in Chinese:

htb_chinese 身体的智能-- 智能科学新视角

Also available in Japanese:

htb_japanese 知能の原理 ―身体性に基づく構成論的アプローチ―

Also available in French:

htb_french La Révolution de l'intelligence du corps

Also available in Arabic:

htb_arabic كيف يشكل الجسد. طريقة تفكيرنا. Arab Scientific Publishers, 2012 (ordering information will be available soon)

Suggested Reading

morph_comp_book Opinions and Outlooks on Morphological Computation

editors: Hauser, Helmut and Füchslin, Rudolf M. and Pfeifer, Rolf, e-book, 2014, ISBN 978-3-033-04515-6

"Morphological Computation is based on the observation that biological systems seem to carry out relevant computations with their morphology (physical body) in order to successfully interact with their environments. This can be observed in a whole range of systems and at many different scales. It has been studied in animals – e.g., while running, the functionality of coping with impact and slight unevenness in the ground is "delivered" by the shape of the legs and the damped elasticity of the muscle-tendon system – and plants, but it has also been observed at the cellular and even at the molecular level – as seen, for example, in spontaneous self-assembly. The concept of morphological computation has served as an inspirational resource to build bio-inspired robots, design novel approaches for support systems in health care, implement computation with natural systems, but also in art and architecture. As a consequence, the field is highly interdisciplinary, which is also nicely reflected in the wide range of authors that are featured in this e-book. We have contributions from robotics, mechanical engineering, health, architecture, biology, philosophy, and others."

Download and keep reading the full e-book here.


Access to previous ShanghAI Lectures:

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