I am an assistant researcher in the computational intelligence group of the computer science department of VU University in amsterdam.
The topic of my research is the evolution of bodies and minds of swarm robot systems and self-reconfigurable modular robot systems. These robot systems have in common that they try to address the use of robots in unknown environments and for unknown tasks. My research concentrates on systems which can operate in both swarm mode, and also create physical connections to aggregate into an organism, for example the robots used in the European project Symbrion.
Such systems, when deployed in an unknown environment need to learn: 1) how to survive, 2) how to perform their tasks, and 3) when to perform their tasks in swarm mode and when in organism mode. Moreover they need to discover which body shape is most effective in performing the current task.
In particular I research the transition from swarm to organism mode, using evolution, driven by the environment. That is, the robots aggregate when this results in a better performance in a particular environment, and dis-aggregate when performance is better as a swarm. In this research there is no internal drive towards either swarm or organism (i.e. the fitness function does not include a special reward for either), but the drive is fully embedded in the environment.
Furthermore I do research into how a user defined task can be assigned to such a system, how this task can be coupled with the evolution evolution of an organisms shape and controller, and lifetime learning of their their controllers.
Room T 3.14
De Boelelaan 1081a
1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
T: +31 (0)20 59 87 865
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