Sabine Hauert is a robotics researcher intrigued by the problem-solving possibilities inherent in engineering robotic swarms. In fact, she refers to herself as a swarm engineer.
Her work centers on the collective behavior of self-organized systems. Hauert examines how swarms in nature, such as flocks of birds or schools of fish, have different powers than individuals — for example, different abilities to find direction and defeat predators. This power is rooted not only in numbers, but also in the difference between swarm behavior and individual behavior. “Swarm intelligence,” also known as “collective brain,” is a biologically inspired artificial intelligence that occurs in nanoscience and robotics as well as in nature. Hauert works to harness that power.
Educated at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, a research institute and university in Switzerland, Hauert is an assistant professor in robotics at the University of Bristol, in the UK. She is also president and co-founder of robohub.org, a nonprofit online platform intended to connect the robotics community to the world. Hauert believes the collective brain can solve complex problems in ways that an isolated individual could not.
She sees robotics as an avenue for social good. For instance, it can provide solutions for controlling traffic congestion by using autonomous vehicles, or employ new methods of environmental cleanup.
Hauert’s lecture, “Swarm Engineering Across Scales,” is sponsored in part by the Santa Fe Institute and the Lensic Peforming Arts Center. The event takes place at the Lensic (211 W. San Francisco St.) at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 9. Reserve free tickets at santafe.edu/community or lensic.org/events/santa-fe-institute. To stream the lecture live, subscribe to the Santa Fe Institute YouTube channel (youtube.com/user/santafeinst).