IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation
Special Issue on Autonomous Mental Development


Recent advances in artificial intelligence, cognitive science, computational intelligence, neuroscience and robotics have stimulated the birth and growth of a new research field, known as computational autonomous mental development (AMD).  It is timely for the Transactions to produce a special issue for this subject. 


Although human mental development has a long and established tradition for scientific enquiry, computational studies of mental development for either machines or humans had not received sufficient attention until recently.  The scope of mental development includes cognitive, behavioral, emotional and all other mental capabilities that are exhibited by humans, higher animals and artificial systems.  Investigations of the computational mechanisms of mental development are expected to improve our understanding of the working of the whole range of cognitive and behavioral capabilities in humans and to enable autonomous development of these highly complex capabilities by robots and other artificial systems.
An autonomous, real-time, incremental, open-ended, sensor-grounded and effector-grounded operational mode of mental development implies that multiple disciplines of human intelligence and artificial intelligence face many similar research issues. This special issue focuses on computational modeling of perceptual, cognitive, and behavioral development, enabled by the genes, but is multidisciplinary in nature, inviting researchers from all related fields including, but not limited to, animal learning, computational intelligence, computer vision, machine learning, neuroscience, philosophy, psychology, robotics, and speech recognition.  Although understanding or realizing fully autonomous modes of mental development is a goal, intermediate results toward this goal are all encouraged.


The study of autonomous mental development is also related to evolutionary biology and evolutionary computation.  The genetic blueprint of an organism, passed from one generation to the next, is expressed through the process of development (both physical and mental).  Furthermore, the success of the developmental process determines the fitness of the program and its likelihood of remaining in the “gene pool” through reproduction.  Thus, the editors welcome papers presenting computational investigations of evolutionary processes that give rise to agents that undergo autonomous mental development. 


The subjects of the special issue include, but are not limited to:

(1)     Architecture of perceptual and cognitive development

(2)     Generation of representation during development

(3)     Learning and training techniques for development

(4)     Automated feature extraction, PCA, LDA, ICA, etc.

(5)     Development of early processors (e.g., clustering)

(6)     Attention mechanisms and development

(7)     Development of later processors (e.g., regression)

(8)     Vision system and its development

(9)     Auditory system and its development

(10)  Touch and motor systems and their development

(11)  Language acquisition through development

(12)  Multimodal integration through development

(13)  Conceptual development

(14)  Neural plasticity during development

(15)  Motivational system and its development

(16)  Emotions and their development

(17)  Autonomous thinking and its development

(18)  Developmental robots and systems

(19)  Comparison of approaches to machine intelligence

(20)  Social and philosophical issues of development


Papers submitted must have not been published previously, though they may represent significant extensions of prior work.  All papers will be reviewed in accordance with IEEE policy.


The guest editors of this special issue:

Prof. James McClelland, Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, Carnegie Mellon University, USA

Prof. Kim Plunkett, Department of Experimental Psychology, Oxford University, UK

Prof. Juyang Weng, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Michigan State University, USA

Submit papers to  Follow information for authors at:


Important dates: (You should have received an acknowledgement for your paper submission.  Contact

Special issue to appear: Late 2006 or early 2007.