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dr. Eliseo Ferrante
Swarm Robotics - An interdisciplinary field between Engineering and Science
On 2015-05-19 14:00 at KN:E-112
Swarm robotics studies the design of collective behaviors for swarms of
robots.It relies on collaboration and self-organization to solve problems in
large unstructured or unpredictable environments. By taking inspiration from
biological systems, it aims at designing artificial systems with similar
features, in particular in terms of flexibility, robustness and scalability.
Despite being active for more than two decades, the field of swarm robotics
still heavily relies on trial-and-error methods and lacks general principles and
methods that could promote it to a full engineering field. Furthermore, the
field often also serves as a support to other sciences, such as biology and
physics, whereby it serves to identify the proximate mechanisms underlying
collective behaviors in biological systems and answer questions about their
In this talk I will first introduce the field of swarm robotics. I will give an
overview by classifying work in the field according to the type of collective
behavior being studied, and I will also introduce the most common design and
analysis methods being used. I will then describe the work I have been doing in
the field, to show how work in this field can be highly interdisciplinary, in my
case at the interface between engineering, statistical physics and evolutionary
biology. The topics will range from self-organized collective motion (described
both in robotics and statistical physics), to opinion dynamics, heterogeneous
swarm robotics, and the evolution of task specialization.
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