Smart Swarms Seek New Ways to Cooperate

Researchers, including computer scientist and former Member Dana Randall, are experimenting with sets of simple robots in an effort to learn how to control them so that they function in a manner similar to swarms of bees or colonies of ants: Each individual operates in response to the same basic set of instructions. But when the swarm comes together, its members can carry out complex behaviors without any centralized direction.

“Our whole perspective is: What’s the simplest computational model that will achieve these complicated tasks?” asked Randall, one of the lead researchers on the project. “We’re looking for elegance and simplicity.”

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