We are pleased to present this special issue of Artificial Life, which is dedicated to articles arising from a workshop held on September 6, 2012, as part of the Unconventional Computation and Natural Computation (UCNC) conference in Orléans, France. UCNC is now a well-established meeting in the portfolio of conferences dedicated to nonstandard computation, dating back to 1998. The 2012 conference was hosted by the Fundamental Computer Science Laboratory of the University of Orléans, and the Second Workshop on Biological and Chemical Information Technologies (BioChemIT) was organized by the COBRA project.

COBRA was a three-year initiative (2010–2013), supported by the European Commission to encourage and nurture research and training in the field of biological and chemical information technology. Fundamentally, the field seeks to harness the capabilities of natural and chemical systems. Rather than simply deriving inspiration from living systems, biological...

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