I just participated at the Maker Faire Rome 2015, where I gave two talks on Saturday and Sunday (see here for the abstract). Both have been exciting experiences as the attendees were very attentive and curious to know the latest developments in the swarm robotics field.
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).