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The University of Southampton
Interdisciplinary Research Excellence

MRW11: Location, Location, Complexification: Spatial Constraints Scaffold Complex Swarm-Built Architectures Event

11:00 - 12:00
4 February 2011
Building 65, Room 1133, Avenue Campus Lecture Theatre A

Event details

Our designs for real-world systems are typically limited by the constraints imposed by physical space - not everything can be near to everything else, some parts must be at the periphery in order for others to be near the centre. The distances that separate the component parts of a system (be it a microchip or a university or a world-wide political movement) impose communication and co-ordination costs that must be paid in terms of time and energy. Are these kinds of frustrations always negative design factors that we must strive to overcome? Here it is argued that spatial embedding can sometimes enable or promote complex behaviour that would be harder to achieve in its absence. Examples from the natural world are presented alongside some theoretical work on a measure of neural complexity that suggests a way in which spatial embedding might scaffold complexity. The talk concludes by presenting some recent work on decentralised construction in which swarms of simple simulated "waspmites" collaboratively build complex structures by relying on spatially constrained communication inspired by the pheromones employed by real social insects. This event is the launch of the Complex Systems Simulation Seminar Series (CS^4).

This event is part of Multidisciplinary Research Week which is happening here at the University of Southampton from Monday, January 31 to Friday, February 4, 2011.

The programme brochure can be downloaded here: BROCHURE AS PDF

Event listing on University calendar

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