A new research position is open within the SAGA experiment: swarm robotics for agricultural applications.
Two papers recently appeared, on PLOS ONE and on Robotics and Autonomous Systems.
The first one is about a study on decentralised decision making in multi-agent systems. The study has been conducted in collaboration with Andreagiovanni Reina, Gabriele Valentini, Cristian Fernandéz Oto and Marco Dorigo. It propose a design pattern for the design of collective decisions in multi-agent systems, and provides a link between the (macroscopic) dynamics of the system as-a-whole, and the rules determining the (microscopic) individual behaviour of each agent in the system.
The short story: PLoS ONE just published our new paper Advantages of Task-Specific Multi-Objective Optimisation in Evolutionary Robotics, in collaboration with Manuel López-Ibáñez. The paper discusses known benefits of multi-objective evolutionary algorithms in the context of the evolutionary robotics domain, and is supported by novel experimental results exploiting three benchmarking problems.
The long story: this has been the most painful publications of my career to date, under many aspects. On the one hand, this was a side-project with respect to my other activities, and I could dedicate to this only a very little part of my time. As a matter of fact, I started with the experiments back in June 2011 and finished only on April 2013. Nearly two years in which I could work on this only few hours a week, but I insisted as the I believed (and still do) that the subject is very relevant for the ER community.
On the other hand, this has been a prototypical example of how peer-review should not work: I experienced extremely long delays, subjective judgments, unprofessional behaviour. As a matter of fact, more than two years went past since the first submission. Here’s the detailed chronology:
I’ve just been in Boston to attend the third workshop on Biologically Distributed Algorithms (BDA 2015), a small but very exciting event organised to gather together people from different backgrounds interested in the mechanisms behind the organisation of complex distributed systems, from ant colonies to brain networks.
I just participated to the Wired Next Fest 2015, the science and innovation festival organised by the Italian branch of the Wired Magazine (http://www.wired.it).
It has been an exciting experience, where I had the occasion to describe my research and discuss with a wide and interested public. We brought to the festival demonstrations with Kilobot robots, interactive experiments with the public playing a fish school, and I also had the chance to give a keynote talk (see the video on wired.it, in Italian, but see the abstract below).