How to achieve Swarm Intelligence
Vice-President, Head of Machine Intelligence at Atos and member of the Scientific Community
Chief Architect, Distinguished Expert and member of the Scientific Community
Do van Rijn
Bid Executive at Atos
Posted on: 27 February 2020
In the previous blog article in our series on Swarm Intelligence, we illustrated why it’s high time for organizations to create man-made swarm intelligence based not on what we can extract from nature, but on what we can learn from her.
Let’s discuss in more details how to develop a swarm intelligent system.
Tips to achieve Swarm Intelligence
Few key principles to keep in mind when designing swarm intelligence agents are:
▶ Goal seeking
All agents are designed to work toward the same objective
▶ Control loops
Stay focused to achieve the task it has been assigned
Every agent responds to the conditions and the events encountered
▶ Memory and knowledge sharing
Rely on communication between adjacent individuals that maintains local knowledge shared between neighbors
Define tasks which can be decomposed and done in parallel
▶ Fault tolerance
Design system where a failure of a single agent does not prevent a given task to be accomplished without significantly degrading performance
Allow agents to dynamically join or quit a task at any time without interrupting the whole swarm.
Swarm Intelligence in action
Based on these design principles, we already see applications designed and developed. Let’s look at the example of the Wind turbine farm. Here the swarm capabilities apply in various areas, leveraging the capabilities of the algorithmic school:
It also perfectly matches a digital twin approach as we discussed in our blog article “Swarm Intelligence, a driving force in our ultra-connected world”.
Lastly, Swarm Intelligence is key for tomorrow’s smart grid mode of operation to efficiently manage local production peaks.
Swarm Intelligence is also in action in underwater habitats, where swarm of autonomous underwater vehicles are able to interact with each other and can balance tasks such as ecological monitoring, searching, maintaining, exploring and harvesting resources…
Pollutant absorbing is also at stake, researchers of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a fleet of low-cost oil absorbing robots called ‘Seaswarm’ for ocean-skimming and oil removal. It delivers an autonomous and low-cost solution for ocean environment protection.
Lastly, at the last Olympic Games, a swarm of drones revealed amazing distributed intelligence to build the Olympic rings.
Let’s now imagine the future possibilities of swarm applications. When autonomous cars will become a reality, Swarm Intelligence can be applied to let cars mutually determine the overall optimal traffic pattern, thus minimizing delay due to traffic jams and optimizing the average speed of all cars in a certain area. Each of these cars will still have its own specific destination to reach.
Over the last decades, a large variety of algorithms has been developed to solve such challenges. For instance, PSO (Particle Swarm Optimization), we already discussed in our blog article here is applied to solve optimization problems, i.e. find out the most appropriate solution in a set of candidate solutions. It is widely applied to resolve a large diversity of simulation, analytical and design problems.
In conclusion, Swarm intelligent agents need to have distributed decision making and knowledge sharing capabilities, which:
1) Enable a decomposition and delegation of the overall problem resolution task to the agents
2) Result in self-organization among the agents.
In turn, this leads to a collective behavior striving to achieve the same objective to solve the initial issue.
Is Swarm Intelligence going to be a game changer? Stay tuned with our next blog.
Read the full blog series here:
- The rise of the Swarm Intelligence era
- Swarm intelligence as an innovation booster
- Swarm Intelligence promises to make our life and business easier
- Swarm intelligence, a driving force in our ultra-connected world
- Communities swarming in the virtual world
- It's time to engage with nature through Swarm Intelligence
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