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 April 16, 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 April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

AFP (Apr. 14, 2014) To curb the growing numbers of feral cats in the US capital, the Washington Humane Society is encouraging residents to set traps and bring the animals to a sterilization clinic, after which they are released.. Duration: 02:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
After Attack, Officials Kill 5 Bears in Florida

After Attack, Officials Kill 5 Bears in Florida

AP (Apr. 14, 2014) Florida wildlife officials say they have killed five bears following an attack on a woman in a suburban subdivision in central Florida. Forty-five year-old Terri Frana was attacked by a large bear in her driveway Saturday. (April 14) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Uruguay Opens Its First Cannabis Library

Uruguay Opens Its First Cannabis Library

AFP (Apr. 13, 2014) Uruguay opened its first Cannabis Library in Montevideo on Saturday, where people can come and read books on cannabis or take classes on how to grow the plant or even how to cook with it. Duration: 01:20 Video provided by AFP
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