Gal Kaminka (Bar Ilan University)


Monday, September 12, 2022, 11:00am to 12:00pm


In person and Zoom

Diverse Swarms are Better Swarms!
Swarms permeate our technological, biological, and sociological worlds. In swarms, individual members are  limited to sensing or communicating with nearby peers, and no direct group-wide coordination is possible. Yet swarms can exhibit coherent collective behavior, and are often highly effective at achieving a collective goal, even when individual members are unaware of it.  Swarms have inspired generations of researchers who seek to understand how a single mind becomes part of a collective, and practictioners who seek to improve and impact the world outside academia.

A common assumption in existing research on swarms is that the swarm is *homogeneous*, meaning all members have the same capabilities and decision-making procedures. In this talk, I will highlight some of my group's work, which in contrast explores the role of diversity in  swarms. Specifically, I will show how (1) human pedestrian traffic is better modeled by swarm algorithms taking individual
differences into account, (2) reinforcement learning by individual swarm robots leads to swarms that are *rational*, and achieve better results, because the robots no longer make identical decisions,
and (3) molecular robots (nanobots) can be built to obey Asimov's laws, despite individually lacking the computational  complexity to do so.

Gal A. Kaminka is a professor at the computer science department, and a member of the Gonda brain research center, and the Institute for Nanotechnology, at Bar Ilan University (Israel), where he leads the MAVERICK research group. His research expertise includes multi-agent and multi-robot systems, teamwork and coordination, behavior and plan recognition, molecular robotics, and modeling social behavior.

After receiving his PhD at the University of Southern California, Prof. Kaminka spent time as a post-doctorate fellow at Carnegie Mellon University, before joining Bar Ilan University’s computer science department in 2002. He had spent a year as a Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Prof. Kaminka was awarded an IBM faculty award and top places at international robotics competitions. He is the 2013 recipient of the Israeli national Landau Prize in exact sciences, and a Fellow of the European Association for Artificial Intelligence (EurAI). He is the author or co-author of over 150 publications and 7 patents, and is very active in commercializing technologies for real-world impact