now back to my fascination with evolving ourselves into extinction...i heard an interesting show on kuow the other day about "swarming." (http://www.kuow.washington.edu/program.php?id=16513)they're researching swarming instincts and how to translate that into robots. seriously.
Scalable sWarms of Autonomous Robots and Mobile Sensors (SWARMS) project. The SWARMS project brings together experts in artificial intelligence, control theory, robotics, systems engineering and biology with the goal of understanding swarming behaviors in nature and applications of biologically-inspired models of swarm behaviors to large networked groups of autonomous vehicles. Our main goal is to develop a framework and methodology for the analysis of swarming behavior in biology and the synthesis of bio-inspired swarming behavior for engineered systems. We will be interested in such questions as: Can large numbers of autonomously functioning vehicles be reliably deployed in the form of a “swarm” to carry out a prescribed mission and to respond as a group to high-level management commands? Can such a group successfully function in a potentially hostile environment, without a designated leader, with limited communications between its members, and/or with different and potentially dynamically changing “roles” for its members? What can we learn about how to organize these teams from biological groupings such as insect swarms, bird flocks, and fish schools? Is there a hierarchy of “compatible” models appropriate to swarming/schooling/flocking which is rich enough to explain these behaviors at various “resolutions” ranging from aggregate characterizations of emergent behavior to detailed descriptions which model individual vehicle dynamics?
Vijay KumarUniversity of Pennsylvania.