Weapons of Mass Construction
Speaker: Justin Werfel , CSAIL, MIT
Date: November 28 2005
Time: 4:10PM to 5:00PM
Location: Kiva/Patil seminar room (32-G449)
Contact: Louis-Philippe Morency, 617-253-4278, email@example.com
Social insects build large, complex structures, which emerge through the collective actions of many simple agents acting with no centralized control or preplanning. This sort of approach to construction has a number of desirable features, such as considerable parallelism and robustness to component loss, but is not well understood. I will describe a system in which autonomous robots assemble user-specified structures out of building blocks. A fixed set of local control rules is sufficient for a group of robots to collectively build arbitrary solid structures.
One tool used by insects is stigmergy, the storing of information in the environment. For instance, the presence of deposited building material is environmental information which may influence future deposits. I will demonstrate ways of extending the principle of stigmergy by increasing the capabilities of the building blocks. Added capabilities increase the availability of nonlocal structural knowledge, thereby increasing robustness and significantly speeding construction.
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