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Birds do it, bees do it. Even ants and fish in the sea do it. When certain individuals group together, they create a “swarm intelligence”— a collective brain capable of solving complex problems which would be insurmountable for an isolated individual. In the world of artificial intelligence, swarm engineering allows us to make robots that work in large numbers (under 1000), and tiny sizes (under 1 cm). Swarm strategies are either inspired from nature (ant colonies, fish shoals, bird flocks, cellular systems) or are automatically discovered using machine learning and crowdsourcing. Demonstrated applications range from the deployment of swarms of flying robots to create outdoor communication networks, or the use of 1000 coin-sized robots to form structures and explore the environment, to the design of nanoparticles for cancer treatment.
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