Abstract: Computer scientists have been using insect colonies as a typical example of the robustness and ubiquity of the distributed approach to solving complex problems. However, it is only recently that we started asking the questions of (1) what can we learn from actual social insect colonies about designing simple, efficient and robust algorithms, and (2) how can we use tools and techniques from theoretical distributed computing to learn more about the behavior of the insects. These two questions form the main motivation for my research. I will give examples of each of these questions using well-known problems from both insect biology and distributed computing, such as consensus, task allocation, and searching.
Bio: Mira Radeva is a PhD student in theoretical computer science at MIT. She received her masters degree in computer science at MIT in 2013 for her work on link reversal algorithms used for routing in distributed networks. Currently, her research interests are mainly in the area of distributed biological algorithms. Mira works on modeling and designing robust distributed algorithms and lower bounds inspired from the capabilities and behavior of social insects. Some of the problems she works on include consensus, task allocation, and searching in the plane.