In nature, thousands of individuals can cooperate to achieve complex goals from local interactions — from cells that form complex organisms, to social insects like ants and bees, to the complex and mesmerizing motion of fish schools and bird flocks. These systems are fascinating, especially to scientists and engineers. Even though each individual has limited ability, but as a collective, they appear to behave as one. What would it take to create our own artificial collectives of the scale and complexity that nature achieves? In this talk, Radhika Nagpal, Professor in Engineering at Princeton University, illustrates how biological swarms can inspire new forms of artificial intelligence and robotic systems.
Radhika Nagpal is Professor in Robotics at Princeton University, joint between the departments of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Computer Science (2022-present). Prior to joining Princeton she was the Fred Kavli Professor of Computer Science at Harvard University and a founding Faculty Member of the Harvard Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. Before becoming faculty, she spent a year as a Research Fellow in the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School. She received her PhD and was a Postdoc Lecturer at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence (CSAIL) supported by the Bell Labs GRPW Fellowship (1995-2001).
She received the Microsoft New Faculty Fellowship (2005), NSF Career Award (2007), Anita Borg Early Career Award (2010), Radcliffe Fellowship (2012), and was an invited TED Speaker (2017), a AAAI Fellow (2020) and an ACM Fellow (2020). In 2014, she was chosen for the Nature 10 Award, given to the top ten influential scientists and engineers by the journal Nature (Dec 2014). In 2017, she co-founded ROOT Robotics, an educational robotics company aimed at democratizing coding, AI, and robotics through early education; Root was acquired by iRobot (2019). Her lab's Kilobots have also been commercialized by K-Team Inc and over 8000 robots have been sold worldwide. She was an Amazon Scholar (2020-21), working on algorithms for warehouse multi-robot systems.
She is also the author of a popular Scientific American blog article on tenure-track life (The Awesomest 7-year Postdoc), the founding advisor for the Harvard Women-in-CS Club (WiCS), a founding ally member of the Black-in-Robotics Boston Chapter (BiR), and an advocate for a nurturing culture and gender/racial equity in academia and STEM.
Reserve your free tickets to this event via the Lensic Performing Arts Center's box office by clicking here. Please abide by the Lensic's COVID safety policies.
This lecture will be streamed live via SFI's YouTube channel, and recorded for future viewing.
The 2023 Santa Fe Institute Community Lecture Series is free to attend thanks to generous sponsorship by the McKinnon Family Foundation, with additional support from the Santa Fe Reporter, and the Lensic Performing Arts Center.