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Séminaire de

René Doursat

19 avril 2011
Amphi Turing, Bât M3

How to Design Self-Organization in Multi-Agent Systems

Multicellular organisms and social insect constructions are rather unique examples of natural systems that exhibit both self-organization and a strong architecture. Can we export their precise self-formation capabilities to technological systems?
I have proposed a new research field called “Morphogenetic Engineering”, which explores the artificial design and implementation of autonomous systems capable of developing complex, heterogeneous morphologies without central planning or external drive. Particular emphasis is set on the programmability and controllability of self-organization, properties that are often underappreciated in complex systems science—while, conversely, the benefits of genuine self-organization are often underappreciated in engineering methodologies.
I present here two related studies in morphogenetic engineering. First, a 2-D/3-D multi-agent model of biological development, based on virtual gene regulation networks, chemical gradients and mechanical forces – which can be applied to the self-aggregation or self-assembly of robotic swarms into specific and reproducible superstructures. Second, a related N-D multi-agent model of self-construction of complex but precise graph topologies by “programmed attachment”, based on dynamical opening of node ports, spread of gradients and creation of links – with potential applications in socio-technical systems composed of a myriad of peer-to-peer mobile devices and human users.
In all cases, the challenge is to design – e.g., through an evolutionary search – the proper set of rules followed by each agent of a complex system on how to interact with the other agents and the environment.

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