Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

From complex living systems to smarter computers

Date:
March 19, 2013
Source:
Centre for Genomic Regulation
Summary:
Compared to human-made technology, living organisms have an enviable ability to adjust to new situations, make complex decisions, and even to heal themselves when damaged. By contrast, technological systems struggle to cope with the unexpected. An important example of such clever biology is multicellular organization. The millions of cells, which make up an early embryo, can communicate only with their neighbors, and yet they are each capable of making the right decisions so that together they collaborate to build organs and whole bodies. Understanding how they achieve this will not only benefit biomedical research, but could also help us to build more intelligent technology.

The European collaborative research Project "SWAM-ORGAN" tries to understand complex living systems such as cells making an organ, or the spatially-controlled growing of a plant, and to apply these principles to technological systems, in particular more intelligent and adaptable robot swarms.

The Project, with a 2,221,000€ budget, is funded by the European Comission under the 7th Framework Programme and will be performed by researchers in Spain, United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

Compared to human-made technology, living organisms have an enviable ability to adjust to new situations, make complex decisions, and even to heal themselves when damaged. By contrast, technological systems struggle to cope with the unexpected. An important example of such clever biology is multicellular organisation. The millions of cells, which make up an early embryo, can communicate only with their neighbours, and yet they are each capable of making the right decisions so that together they collaborate to build organs and whole bodies. Understanding how they achieve this will not only benefit biomedical research, but could also help us to build more intelligent technology.

The SWAM-ORGAN project focuses on systems containing large numbers of autonomous but relatively simple agents, whose goal is to collectively organise themselves into complex spatial arrangements despite each agent having only local awareness. They form complex patterns and deal with conflict or damage by acting locally but for the benefit of the whole. "Although we originally came from the biological questions of embryo development, I've been increasingly fascinated by the potential similarities between multicellular organs, and robot swarms" explained James Sharpe, the coordinator of the project. "The plan is that this project will be equally relevant to both fields, by focusing on the underlying organisational principles."

The goal of the project is to identify the principles of these systems and use them to design a theoretical framework about distributed adaptive control. The researchers will explore a specific approach, the gene regulatory networks, as a potentially powerful control method for these systems. Comparing networks between different biological processes, they will be able to identify patterns and fundamental principles that can be applied to technology.

The project is coordinated by ICREA Research Professor James Sharpe, acting coordinator of the Systems Biology Programme at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona (Spain). The research partners are Prof. Yaochu Jin, University of Surrey (United Kingdom), Dr. Jaap Kaandorp, Universiteit van Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Dr. Veronica Grieneisen, John Innes Centre (United Kingdom).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Centre for Genomic Regulation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Centre for Genomic Regulation. "From complex living systems to smarter computers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130319202038.htm>.
Centre for Genomic Regulation. (2013, March 19). From complex living systems to smarter computers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130319202038.htm
Centre for Genomic Regulation. "From complex living systems to smarter computers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130319202038.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins