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friday :: may 20, 2005

Imagine a large group of small unmanned autonomous aerial vehicles that can fly with the agility of a flock of starlings in a city square at dusk. Imagine linking their onboard computers together across a short-range, high-bandwidth wireless network and configuring them to form an enormous distributed parallel computer. Imagine using this huge computational resource to process the sensory data gathered by the swarm, and to direct its collective actions. You have now grasped the idea of a flying gridswarm. At Essex, researchers are working to bring this vision to reality.

Interesting factoid: a typical flock of starlings (about 2,000 birds) contains as much brain tissue as a single human.

As well as working on airborne gridswarms using UAVs, the project are interested in heterogeneous swarms that employ a combination of airborne and terrestrial robots. This allows, for example, the UAVs to direct a ground vehicle to a particular location, or for sensed data from the ground vehicle to be processed on the airborne swarm and its results relayed to a central point for archival.

Most of the pieces of the technical jigsaw have become available in the last few years: unmanned autonomous flying vehicles, swarm technologies and cluster computing. >from *Gridswarms site*.

related context
swarm intelligence is the property of a system whereby the collective behaviours of (unsophisticated) agents interacting locally with their environment cause coherent functional global patterns to emerge; provides a basis with which it is possible to explore collective (or distributed) problem solving without centralized control or the provision of a global model.
> beyond swarm intelligence: the ultraswarm. 2005
> how animals coordinate their actions. march 18, 2005
> foundations of swarm intelligence: from principles to practice by mark fleischer. february 2, 2005
> hypermobile swarming. from 'top-down surveillance for grassroots initiatives!' by brian holmes. 2004
> flashmob computing: democratize supercomputing. march 19, 2004
> spontaneous order. from 'synchrony: order is inevitable.' april 9, 2003
> smart mobs: new uses of mobile media. october 3, 2002
> swarm paintings: artificial art, next aesthetical rupture?. march 12, 2002
> autonomous nanotechnology swarm.

starling swarm facing a human brain

sonic flow
parallel linked flying computers [stream]
parallel linked flying computers [download]

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