• Course code:63545
  • Contents

1st part: Modelling and simulation of collective behaviour

Experts from the field of computer science seek inspiration for solving current problems in various fields. On numerous occasions Mother Nature provided them the inspiration for solutions of the most puzzling problems. This seems intuitive, as throughout natural evolution living organisms have learned to adapt to and survive the challenges that they face on a daily basis. The study of living organisms and natural phenomena is a very interesting one as it seeks to elucidate the rules that govern the natural world, but it also enables one to transfer the acquired knowledge into technology. But the natural world is not black-and-white, it is full of shades of grey (many more than fifty).

In life you were probably already faced with a challenge that required an unambiguous affirmative or negative answer … and yet you hesitated. The dilemma was not simple, both answers fitted, none was right. Computers, as we have been taught, are based on binary (two-valued) logic, which in its essence allows only for a YES/NO answer; with no middle truth.

The course Current research topics I: Part I is dedicated to “hesitation.” It deals with the middle truth, the answer that is neither affirmative nor negative, and its application to nature-inspired systems and modelling of natural systems.

Throughout the course you will be introduced to ternary (three-valued) logic as the simplest extension of binary (two-valued) logic, and from there to fuzzy logic as an example of continuous logic. Most of the course will be dedicated to the use of these logics in models of natural systems, where the principal focus will be the modelling and simulation of collective behaviour. The algorithms that we will discuss are used to control unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), planning of evacuation routes, traffic, entertainment industry (computer games, films), etc.

Lab work will mostly be carried out in the programing language C++ and the Cinder framework, where it will include also the development creation of 3D visualizations. The prerequisites of this course are therefore understanding of basic vector arithmetic, programming (C/C++, Java) and 3D graphics (OpenGL graphics library).

2nd part: Computational Approaches in Synthetic Biology

Synthetic biology is an emergent scientific field which aims the design and construction of novel, i.e. synthetic, biological systems. Several successful applications were reported recently such as intelligent therapeutics, renewable energy sources and systems for environmental pollution removal. Also, basic information processing structures were already realized, which will probably present the basic parts of biological computers in the near future.

The course will provide an outline of the state of the art computational approaches used in this interdisciplinary field. Computational approaches support the rapid progress of the filed while they allow us to thoroughly analyse the novel biological systems before its experimental (i.e. biological) realization. Moreover, we will introduce the biological systems which are able to process information in similar manners as digital electronic systems that comprise modern computers.

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