Bio-inspired computation aims to study the biology function, characteristic and mechanism of the various levels of nature, from biological individual, population, colony until ecosystem, and set up a relevant model and computing method, so as to serve the scientific research and engineering application of human society. It is not only the inheritance and development of artificial intelligence, but also from a new point to understand and grasp the intelligent intrinsic. First, we introduce the bio-inspired computation theoretical origin, involving the biological evolutionism theory, the symbiosis evolution theory and the complex adaptive system theory. Then, we review algorithm research progress and discuss about application research progress from three aspects including optimal plan, optimal analysis and optimal control. Based on comprehensive analysis and summarize existing bio-inspired optimization algorithms, a bio-inspired computation unified framework model is proposed. Finally, a few future directions and research challenges are presented, such as parallel bio-inspired computation, bio-inspired computation with reasoning and knowledge, bio-inspired dynamics computation, bio-inspired computation based on quorum sensing, artificial brain, evolutionary hardware, big data, swarm robot, virtual biological, cloud computing, etc.