Colloquium Details

Swarm robotics as a tool to study collective behaviors in biological systems

Speaker: Eliseo Ferrante, Middlesex University Dubai

Location: Warren Weaver Hall 101

Date: June 4, 2018, 11:30 a.m.

Host: Subhash Khot


Swarm robotics studies the design of collective behaviors for swarms of robots that, by interacting with each other using simple local sensing and communication, achieve a collective-level emergent behavior through a process called self-organization. By studying computer models of real biological systems that live in groups, such as ants, bees, birds, fish, this field aims at understanding key behavioral properties that lead to their self-organisation. This knowledge then leads to the design of robots with minimal hardware and communication requirements, in order to use their emergent self-organizing collective behavior to perform missions in large unstructured and unpredictable environments. In this talk, after giving a short overview on the research projects I worked on, I will specifically focus on a project on the evolution of task specialization and task partitioning in a swarm of robots. In this study, I designed a novel rule-based language for robots swarms and, using an evolutionary computation method called grammatical evolution together with computer simulations, I evolved for the first time the task allocation mechanism as well as the individual behavior needed to carry out the single sub-tasks in a foraging scenario inspired by leaf-cutter ants. At the end of my talk, I will outline the different possible future research directions I would like to pursue while working at NYU Abu Dhabi.

Speaker Bio:

Dr. Eliseo Ferrante owns a Ph.D. in Applied Sciences delivered by the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) in 2013. He has worked at the KU Leuven (Belgium), at the Compiegne University of Technology (France), at the Italian National Research Council (Italy), and at Middlesex University Dubai (UAE). Dr. Ferrante has authored more than 30 peer-reviewed publications, among which 17 publications in international journals with peer review, and 20 articles between peer-reviewed conference, workshops, and video proceedings. Some of Dr. Ferrante journal articles have been published in prestigious journals with high impact factor, including Physical Review Letters (IF 2016: 8.46), IEEE Transactions in Cybernetics (IF 2016: 7.38), and Plos Computational Biology (IF 2016: 4.59). He also authored a survey article with more than 500 citations since 2013. His Google Scholar H-index is 16, and the total number of citations is over 1500. Dr. Ferrante’s research was featured on international and national magazines, including Science Magazine, IEEE Spectrum, Sciences et Avenir (France), the Italian National News Agency (Italy), and La Repubblica (Italy). According to the Altmetric website, Dr. Ferrante’s Plos Computational Biology article has scored very high in terms of impact, being among the top 40 articles published in the same journal and in the 99th percentile of all articles ever tracked by the website.

Dr. Ferrante’s research focuses on swarm robotics studies from an interdisciplinary perspective comprising computational, statistical physics, and evolutionary models of collective behaviors. Some of the phenomena he studies include collective motion, task specialization, and collective decision-making in animals, artificial agents and robots. His methodological expertise includes computer simulations, real robot experiments, evolutionary and mathematical models.


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