In many insect species, colonies of individuals collaborate to construct impressive homes. These structures can exhibit functional organisation at many scales despite the limited cognitive capacity of the individual builders. Understanding how these feats of collective construction are achieved could unlock a new design paradigm for human architecture. Here, a series of simulation studies of collective construction in populations of idealised artificial insects is presented. Particular consideration is given to the problem of simultaneously achieving both fine-grained spatial structure and large-scale spatial organisation by combining distal and proximal behavioural mechanisms in the form of pheromone-mediated behaviour and stigmergic building rules.


Seth Bullock Professor Seth Bullock is Toshiba Chair in Data Science and Simulation in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Bristol in the UK. He has a history of effective interdisciplinary research having led or been involved in £13m of interdisciplinary research projects funded by UK research councils, industry, and charities, and £11m of funding for infrastructure and doctoral training. Prof Bullock?s works on complex systems simulation modelling. He led the Resilient Futures project modelling the capacity for UK infrastructure to recover from natural and anthropogenic shocks, and the Care Life Cycle project exploring the impact of demographic change on the UK?s health and social care systems. Recent papers have explored models of merger waves, social breakdown, swarm robotics, and interdependent infrastructure.

Invited Talk e-session

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