General Meeting April 2018

Tuesday, 10 April 2018 at 7.30 pm
Australian Museum


Speaker: Chris Reid   Social structures; new insights into the self-assembled architectures built by (and of) ants

Army ants in the New World and tropical Australian weaver ants both build complex, dynamic structures that perform a variety of functions for the colony. Such structures include bridges, ramps, chains and accommodation for the colony. I will talk about my recent work conducted on army ants in Panama and weaver ants in Townsville, to understand more about how living structures are built by these small animals, using local information and self-organised processes alone. These empirical investigations could provide rules for collective function that can generalise to other systems, such as swarm robotics, developmental processes and nano-assembly.

Chris Reid is a Research Fellow at Macquarie University. He studies the behaviour of natural distributed systems, which are systems consisting of many individual units, each acting on its own with no centralised control of the collective. The thousands of tiny interactions between the individuals leads to sophisticated ‘emergent’ behaviour at the group level, such as solving mazes and making complicated trade-off decisions.

*** Also Show and Tell, and refreshments after the talk ***

PLEASE NOTE: Access to the building for the meeting is via the steps from William Street. If you require step-free access please phone Helen Smith on 0448 560 255 or Graham Owen on 0418 971 458, preferably PRIOR to the night.