Our aim is to understand and exploit fundamental computation within biology. We examine biological systems at all levels, from proteins, cells, organs and organisms to societies, species and ecosystems.

Our focus is complex systems, including evolutionary, developmental, neural, swarming and other biologically-inspired computation.

The applications of the research include sustainability, design, robot control, architecture, fraud detection, materials science, art, economics, music composition, recommender systems, and models for biologists.



We perform fundamental and applied research in computer science. This results in new AI algorithms for optimization and learning and new understandings of how biological systems work. The group has been based at UCL and active in this area for more than 25 years, with work performed by many PhD students, postdocs and collaborators.

We’ve been funded by many sources including: EPSRC, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), European Office for Aerospace Research and Development (EOARD), USAF, BAE Systems, Sandia National Laboratories, The UK Arts Council, Glassworks Ltd, Innovate UK, Autodesk.

Our collaborators have included: Prof Uwe Aickelin, Prof Buzz Baum, Malcolm Galloway, Prof Christian Jacob, Dr. Beau Lotto, Dr. Soo Ling Lim, Dr. Julian Miller, Prof. Mark Miodownik, Gordana Novakovic, Prof John Shawe-Taylor, Prof. Susan Stepney, Prof. Jon Timmis, Prof. Andy Tyrrell, Prof. Lewis Wolpert



To see examples of current and past research, check out our publications here: Peter J Bentley’s Publications

Also check out past PhD students and Current PhD Students





Developing Systemic Computation – a novel model and architecture of computation based on biological principles. Also developing the hardware implementation of a systemic computer in FPGAs. Peter Bentley, Christos Sakellariou

Evolutionary developmental spiking neural networks implemented in hardware. Hooman Shayani, Peter Bentley, Andy Tyrrell.

Evolved and 3d-printed physical self-assembling structures. Navneet Bhalla, Peter Bentley, Christian Jacob, Marco Dorigo.

Investigation of the role of aneuploidy on tumour development using agent based modelling. Arturo Araujo, Peter Bentley, Buzz Baum

Simulating derivative trading using CGP and agent based modelling. Laleh Zangeneh, Peter Bentley.

Modelling app store ecosystems using agent based simulations. Soo Ling Lim, Peter Bentley.

Fugue (previously Algorithmica) - an immersive virtual reality visualisation and artwork of an artificial immune system. Gordana Novakovic, Peter Bentley, Rainer Linz and Tony Ruto.


Developing Systemic Computation – a novel model and architecture of computation based on biological principles. Developing a visualization of biological processes implemented in SC. Peter Bentley, Erwan Le Martelot, Beau Lotto. Developing a GPU implementation of SC. Marjan Rouhipour, Hooman Shayani.

Development of novel machine learning techniques to the analysis of music and brain imaging data on music cognition. Tom Diethe, John Shawe-Taylor, and many others…

Simulating nanorobot control using swarm intelligence. Boonserm Kaewkamnerdpong, Peter Bentley.

Investigating effects of hyperdimensional bypass on evolvability of hierarchical complex systems. David Malkin, Beau Lotto, Peter Bentley.

3 year EPSRC Adventure Fund project on the Danger Theory in Immune Systems. UCL staff: Dr Jungwon Kim and Dr Peter J. Bentley. Click here for more details.

Evolving Hierarchical Visually Guided Neural Network Agents to Investigate Complex Interactions. Udi Schlessinger, Peter Bentley, Beau Lotto.

MOBIUS: Modelling Biology Using Smart materials. A 3-year project funded by EOARD.

Microstructure extrapolation with evolutionary algorithms (by David Basanta and with Mark Miodownik).

Biological modeling for post production (by Ramona Behravan).

Use of evolution and development for electronic circuit design (by Tim Gordon).

Shape-shifter robotics (by Siavash Mahdavi and with Mark Miodownik).

Computational Development - an investigation of evolving developmental processes (by Sanjeev Kumar and the support of Lewis Wolpert).

Use of evolution and swarming algorithms for a Lifestyle Recommender System (by Supiya Ujjin).

Neuropathology fractal dimensions - an automatic analysis of brain biopsy images by Malcolm Galloway with Muhammad Siddiq Hassan, Jungwon Kim, Eric Longequel.