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Science Café: Swarm Theory

Monday, July 13, 2009 at 9:00 am
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The next time you're at the beach take a look at how the flocks of gulls move as one. The birds don't have a leader. No other bird is telling them what to do. Instead, they are paying close attention to the birds next to them in order to fly in one precise, coordinated movement.This is how one author describes swarm activity. It is a group acting as if it had a collective brain that enables them to act as a single organism. Humans form swarms too. Think: panic in the stock market or stampede at Wal-Mart. But human swarms can also have more positive effects. Think: social networking on Facebook or information sharing on youtube. So, how are scientists using swarm theory to interpret behavior, and how can it be used for the greater good? On Monday’s The Sound of Ideas®, we’ll talk to three experts about the intelligence of the swarm and how we can apply it to our lives.


Dr. Dan Palmer, Computer Science Professor, John Carroll University
Mr. Dave Williams, Co-founder, GamerTrainer.com
Mr. Kal Ivanov, Candidate for a PhD in biology, Cleveland State University