This seminar is hosted by The Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School
Speaker: Professor Melanie E. Moses, Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science, University of New Mexico
Abstract: The slow beat of an elephant’s heart reflects dozens of other rates that are systematically slower (e.g., reproductive rates and growth rates) and times that are systematically longer (e.g., blood
circulation times and lifespans) in larger animals. A simple model shows that energy distribution
through centralized networks, like the cardiovascular network, is characterized by diminishing
returns, explaining why larger animals evolve slower life histories. The same model explains how, in
contrast, information throughput in microprocessors evolves to be faster and more energy efficient.
Our analysis suggests how decentralized communication increases scalability in both biology and
technology. We demonstrate how technology can leverage evolutionary principles and distributed
communication to achieve adaptable, robust and scalable strategies, in this case, in a team of iAnt
robots that cooperate to collect resources from noisy unmapped environments.