FoCAS is sponsoring invited keynote speaker Dr Justin Werfel’s (Harvard University) at ECAL, the European Conference on Artificial Life held 20-24 July 2015 in York, UK
Preview of Dr Werfel’s talk
Termite-inspired robots and evolved death: environmentally-mediated coordination in artificial and natural systems
Complex systems research explores two types of questions about collective behaviors of interacting agents: the forward problem seeks to understand how interesting collective effects emerge from individual actions; the inverse problem is concerned with designing local rules that achieve a particular desired global result. I will discuss recent work in both categories: first, a system of construction robots inspired by mound-building termites, that builds specific structures according to user design; and second, a family of spatial evolutionary models that demonstrates the robust evolution of restraint phenomena, including programmed mortality, which are not captured by traditional theories. In both cases, the key to the result is behavior mediated through persistent environmental state.
Bio: Justin Werfel is a senior research scientist at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. His research interests are in the understanding and design of complex and emergent systems, with work on topics including swarm robotics, engineered molecular nanosystems, social insect behavior, evolutionary theory, tissue modeling, computational neuroscience, and educational robotics.