Project

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SWARMIX - Synergistic Interactions in Swarms of Heterogenous Agents

Applicant Plattner Bernhard
Number 133059
Funding scheme Sinergia
Research institution Institut für Technische Informatik und Kommunikationsnetze ETH Zürich
Institution of higher education ETH Zurich - ETHZ
Main discipline Other disciplines of Engineering Sciences
Start/End 01.02.2011 - 31.12.2014
Approved amount 1'100'000.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Other disciplines of Engineering Sciences
Information Technology

Keywords (11)

self-organizing systems; swarm intelligence; heterogeneous agents; search-and-rescue; wireless multi-hop networking; flying robots; swarms of heterogeneous agents; humans; animals; micro-air-vehicles; synergistic interaction and control

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
The proposed research is about laying the foundations for the design, implementation, and adaptive control of heterogenous multi-agent systems that are composed of humans, animals, and small, lightweight aircrafts working in cooperation to solve distributed tasks that require a wide diversity of sensory-motor and cognitive skills. In the following, we will refer to such systems as mixed swarms, hence the project code name SWARMIX. The aim is to provide each component of the mixed swarm with a high level of autonomy in order to allow it to fully exploit its own unique skills and abilities, and at the same time to set up close bidirectional interactions and information flows between all system components in order to ensure overall synergistic cooperation. The main novelty of this project lies in the cooperative integration of a possibly large number of humans, animals, and robots in tight cooperation in one single networked system with distributed control. To the best of our knowledge this would be the first research addressing peer-to-peer cooperation between humans, animals, and robots. The research work in the SWARMIX project will be guided by the creation of a specific validation scenario composed of humans, dogs, and small-sized UAVs aimed at performing search-and-rescue (SAR) missions in outdoor civilian domains. We believe that concentrating on one example is important given the vast possibilities in the ways mixed swarms can be composed and applied. A practical implementation will help guide the development of theoretical work and provide a testbed for new ideas. The choice for search-and-rescue missions is inspired by their practical/humanitarian relevance, and by the fact that these applications are often used in the scientific domain as reference test to assess the performance of collective cooperative systems. In order to validate our research and to emphasize the synergistic cooperation between partners, the SWARMIX project will include a rigorous experimental protocol in the context of the SAR scenario, where success will be measured by the capability of the swarm as a unit to locate targets in distributed environments more reliably and/or faster than each group of agents in isolation or even in pairwise combinations. Our research will focus on the one hand on the identification and development of technology that is needed to use and extend the sensory-motor skills of the different agents and to support communication between them, and on the other hand on the creation of intelligent algorithms and protocols that allow synergistic interaction and control within the heterogenous swarm.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Needle in a Haystack: On Limiting the Search Effort in Mission-aware Packet Forwarding for Drones
M. Asadpour, M. Burger, F. Schuiki, K.A. Hummel (2015), Needle in a Haystack: On Limiting the Search Effort in Mission-aware Packet Forwarding for Drones, ACM, Paris.
A mathematical programming approach to collaborative missions with heterogeneous teams
Flushing Eduardo Feo, Gambardella Luca, Di Caro Gianni (2014), A mathematical programming approach to collaborative missions with heterogeneous teams, in 27th IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), IEEE, IEEE.
Dogs (Canis familiaris) are able to generalize directional acoustic signals to different contexts and tasks
Gergely Anna, Doka A., Topal J., Miklosi Adam (2014), Dogs (Canis familiaris) are able to generalize directional acoustic signals to different contexts and tasks, in Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 156, 54-61.
Micro aerial vehicle networks: an experimental analysis of challenges and opportunities
Asadpour Mahdi, Van den Bergh Bertold, Giustiniano Domenico, Hummel Karin Anna, Pollin Sofie, Plattner Bernhard (2014), Micro aerial vehicle networks: an experimental analysis of challenges and opportunities, in IEEE Communications Magazine, 52(7), 141-149.
On dogs and widgets - the automatization of behaviour observation
Gerencser Linda, Vasarhelyi Gabor (2014), On dogs and widgets - the automatization of behaviour observation, in Magyar Tudomany, 176, 28-35.
Poster Abstract: Link Quality Estimation -- A Case Study for On-line Supervised Learning in Wireless Sensor Networks
{Feo-Flushing} E., Kudelski M., Nagi J., Gambardella L., {Di Caro} G. A. (2014), Poster Abstract: Link Quality Estimation -- A Case Study for On-line Supervised Learning in Wireless Sensor Networks, in 5th Workshop on Real- World Wireless Sensor Networks (REALWSN), Springer, Springer.
Robot-animal interactions as a new research tool
Gergely Anna, Miklosi Adam (2014), Robot-animal interactions as a new research tool, in Magyar Todomany, 176, 44-50.
Routing in a fleet of micro aerial vehicles: First experimental insights
Asadpour Mahdi, Egli Simon, Hummel Karin Anna, Giustiniano Domenico (2014), Routing in a fleet of micro aerial vehicles: First experimental insights, in Third ACM Workshop on Airborne Networks and Communications, ACM, ACM.
Spatial prediction of wireless links and its application to the path control of mobile robots
Flushing Eduardo Feo, Kudelski M., Gambardella Luca, Di Caro Gianni A. (2014), Spatial prediction of wireless links and its application to the path control of mobile robots, in 9th IEEE International Symposium on Industrial Embedded Systems (SIES), IEEE, IEEE.
Use of time-dependent spatial maps of communication quality for networkaware multi-robot path planning
Di Caro Gianni A. (2014), Use of time-dependent spatial maps of communication quality for networkaware multi-robot path planning, in 8th International Workshop on Wireless Sensor, Actuator and Robot Networks (WiSARN), Springer, Springer.
A Flow-based Optimization Model for Throughput-oriented Relay Node Placement in Wireless Sensor Networks
Feo Eduardo, Di Caro Gianni (2013), A Flow-based Optimization Model for Throughput-oriented Relay Node Placement in Wireless Sensor Networks, in 28th ACM Symposium on Applied Computing, Coimbra, PortugalACM, ACM.
Characterizing 802.11n Aerial Communication
Asadpour M., Giustiniano D., Hummel K.A., Heimlicher S. (2013), Characterizing 802.11n Aerial Communication, in Airborne, Mobihoc WS 2013, ACM, ACM.
Connectivity-aware planning of search and rescue missions
{Feo Flushing} E., Kudelski M., Gambardella L., {Di Caro} G. A. (2013), Connectivity-aware planning of search and rescue missions, in 11th IEEE Intl. Symposium on Safety, Security, and Rescue Robotics (SSRR), IEEE, IEEE.
From Ground to Aerial Communication: Dissecting WLAN 802.11n for the Drones
Asadpour M., Giustiniano D., Hummel K.A. (2013), From Ground to Aerial Communication: Dissecting WLAN 802.11n for the Drones, in ACM Wintech 2013, ACM, ACM.
Identification of Behaviour in Freely Moving Dogs (Canis familiaris) Using Inertial Sensors
Gerencsér L., Vasarhelyi G., Nagy M., Miklósi Á. (2013), Identification of Behaviour in Freely Moving Dogs (Canis familiaris) Using Inertial Sensors, in PLOSOne, 8.10(e77814), 77814.
Now or Later?: Delaying Data Transfer in Time-critical Aerial Communication
Asadpour M., Giustiniano D., Hummel K.A., Heimlicher S., Egli S. (2013), Now or Later?: Delaying Data Transfer in Time-critical Aerial Communication, in ACM CONEXT 2013, ACM, ACM.
On-line supervised learning of link quality estimates in wireless networks
{Di Caro} G. A., Kudelski M., {Feo Flushing} E., Nagi J., Ahmed I., Gambardella L. (2013), On-line supervised learning of link quality estimates in wireless networks, in 12th IEEE/IFIP Annual Mediterranean Ad Hoc Networking Workshop (Med-Hoc-Net), IEEE, IEEE.
Strategic control of proximity relationships in heterogeneous search and rescue teams
{Feo Flushing} E., Gambardella L., {Di Caro} G. A. (2013), Strategic control of proximity relationships in heterogeneous search and rescue teams, in 3rd IROS Workshop on Robots and Sensors integration in future rescue INformation system (ROSIN), IEEE, IEEE.
UAV Networks in Rescue Missions
Asadpour M., Giustiniano D., Hummel K.A., Egli S. (2013), UAV Networks in Rescue Missions, in ACM Wintech 2013, ACM, ACM.
What are you or who are you? The emergence of social interaction between dog and an Unidentified Moving Object (UMO)
Gergely A., Petro E., Topal J., Miklósi Á. (2013), What are you or who are you? The emergence of social interaction between dog and an Unidentified Moving Object (UMO), in PLOSOne, 8.8(e72727), 72727.
GIS-based Mission Support System for Wilderness Search and Rescue with Heterogeneous Agents
Feo Eduardo, Gambardella Luca, Di Caro Gianni (2012), GIS-based Mission Support System for Wilderness Search and Rescue with Heterogeneous Agents, in 2nd IROS Workshop on Robots and Sensors integration in future rescue INformation, Vilamoura, PortugalIEEE, IEEE.
Potential Application of Behaviourally Enriched Robots in the Study of Animal Behaviour
Gerencser Linda, Miklosi Adam (2012), Potential Application of Behaviourally Enriched Robots in the Study of Animal Behaviour, in 3rd IEEE International Conference on Cognitive Infocommunications, IEEE, IEEE.
Optimal Relay Node Placement for Throughput Enhancement in Wireless Sensor Networks
Feo Eduardo, Di Caro Gianni (2011), Optimal Relay Node Placement for Throughput Enhancement in Wireless Sensor Networks, in 50th FITCE International Congress -- ICT: brigding an ever shifting digital divide, IEEE, IEEE.
Reynolds Flocking in Reality with Fixed-wing Robots: Communication Range vs. Maximum Turning Rate
Hauert S., Leven S., Varga M., Ruini F., Cangelosi A., Zufferey J.-C., Floreano D. (2011), Reynolds Flocking in Reality with Fixed-wing Robots: Communication Range vs. Maximum Turning Rate, in Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2011 IEEE/RSJ , San Francisco, USAIEEE, 2011 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS).
A Mobility-assisted Protocol for Supervised Learning of Link Quality Estimates in Wireless Networks
Feo Flushing E., Nagi J., Di Caro G.A., A Mobility-assisted Protocol for Supervised Learning of Link Quality Estimates in Wireless Networks, in International Conference on Computing, Networking and Communications (ICNC), M^3, IEEE, International Conference on Computing, Networking and Communications (ICNC) 2012.
Application-Driven Design of Aerial Communication Networks
Andre T., Hummel K.A., Schoellig A., Yanmaz E., Asadpour M., Bettstetter C., Grippa P., Hellwagner H., Sand S., Zhang S., Application-Driven Design of Aerial Communication Networks, in IEEE Communication Magazine, Special Issue on Enabling Next Generation Airborne Communications (to a.
Exploiting Synergies between Exact and Heuristic Methods in Optimization: an application to the Relay Placement Problem in Wireless Sensor Networks
Feo Eduardo, Di Caro Gianni, Exploiting Synergies between Exact and Heuristic Methods in Optimization: an application to the Relay Placement Problem in Wireless Sensor Networks, in 7th International Conference on Bio-Inspired Models of Network, Information, and Computing Systems , Lugano, SwitzerlandSpringer, Springer.
Relay Node Placement for Performance Enhancement with Uncertain Demand: a Robust Optimization Approach
Feo Eduardo, Di Caro Gianni, Relay Node Placement for Performance Enhancement with Uncertain Demand: a Robust Optimization Approach, in 11th International Symposium on Modeling and Optimization in Mobile, Ad Hoc, and Wireless , IEEE, IEEE.
Route or Carry: Motion-driven Packet Forwarding in Micro Aerial Vehicle Networks
M. Asadpour, K.A. Hummel, D. Giustiniano, S. Draskovic, Route or Carry: Motion-driven Packet Forwarding in Micro Aerial Vehicle Networks, in IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing, 1.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
IMDEA Madrid Spain (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Pannon Search and Rescue Team Hungary (Europe)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Department of Biological Physics, EÖTVÖS University Hungary (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
KU Leuven Belgium (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
NCCR Robotics Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Kantonspolizei Zürich Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Lakeside Labs Austria (Europe)
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
16th conference of the Hungarian Ethology Society Talk given at a conference Does a non-living agent mislead dogs (Canis familiaris) in a choice test? 28.11.2014 Tihany, Hungary Gergely Anna; Miklósí Ádám;
16th conference of the Hungarian Ethology Society Poster Dogs (Canis familiaris) are able to flexibly adjust their preference to agents with different physical cabalities 28.11.2014 Tihany, Hungary Gergely Anna; Miklósí Ádám;
FLYNET 2014 Talk given at a conference SWARMIX: presentation of all sub projects (talks and demos) 03.11.2014 ETH Zurich, Switzerland Feo Flushing Eduardo Marcelo; Varga Maja; Asadpour Mahdi; Gerencsér Linda;
4th Canine Science Forum Poster Dogs (Canis familiaris) are able to adjust their social behaviour in accordance with their inanimate partners’ different capabilities 15.07.2014 Lincoln, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Miklósí Ádám; Gergely Anna;
4th Canine Science Forum Talk given at a conference Dogs comprehend on directional signals of an unidentified moving object (UMO) 15.07.2014 Lincoln, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Miklósí Ádám; Gergely Anna;
AISB 50 Converence Talk given at a conference What are you or who are you? The emergence of social interaction between dog and an Unidentified Moving Object (UMO) 01.04.2014 London, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Miklósí Ádám; Gergely Anna;
CONEXT 2013 Talk given at a conference Now or Later? Delaying Data Transfer in Time-critical Aerial Communication 09.12.2013 Santa Barbara, CA, United States of America Heimlicher Simon; Giustiniano Domenico; Asadpour Mahdi;
Conference of the Hungarian Ethological Society Poster Two posters: Automatic dog ethogram: identification of behaviour using inertial sensors / Generalization of directional cues to different contexts and tasks in dogs (Canis familiaris) 29.11.2013 Budapest, Hungary Gergely Anna; Gerencsér Linda; Miklósí Ádám;
3rd IROS Workshop on Robots and Sensors integration in future rescue INformation system (ROSIN) Talk given at a conference Strategic control of proximity relationships in heterogeneous search and rescue teams 07.11.2013 Tokyo, Japan Feo Flushing Eduardo Marcelo; Di Caro Gianni;
Hunting dog conference 2013 Talk given at a conference Automatic dog behaviour identification on open field 29.10.2013 Budapest, Hungary Miklósí Ádám; Gerencsér Linda;
11th IEEE International Symposium on Safety, Security, and Rescue Robotics (SSRR) Talk given at a conference Connectivity-aware planning of search and rescue missions 21.10.2013 Linköping, Sweden Gambardella Luca Maria; Di Caro Gianni; Feo Flushing Eduardo Marcelo;
ACM Wintech - MOBICOM WS 2013 Talk given at a conference Talk and Poster: From Ground to Aerial Communication: Dissecting WLAN 802.11n for the Drones / UAV Networks in Rescue Missions 30.09.2013 Miami, Florida, United States of America Asadpour Mahdi; Egli Simon; Giustiniano Domenico;
5th Workshop on Real-World Wireless Sensor Networks (REALWSN) Talk given at a conference Poster abstract: Link quality estimation – a case study for on-line supervised learning in wireless sensor networks 19.09.2013 Como Lake, Italy Feo Flushing Eduardo Marcelo; Gambardella Luca Maria; Di Caro Gianni;
Airborne Networks and Communications, MobiHoc 2013 WS Talk given at a conference Characterizing 802.11n Aerial Communication 29.07.2013 Bangalore, India Giustiniano Domenico; Asadpour Mahdi; Heimlicher Simon;
COMPCOG Conference Talk given at a conference ”What are you or who are you? The emergence of social interaction between dog and an Unidentified Moving Object (UMO)” 03.07.2013 Vienna, Austria Gergely Anna; Miklósí Ádám;
COMPCOG Conference Talk given at a conference Automated identification of the behaviour in freely moving dogs using inertial sensors 03.07.2013 Vienna, Austria Gerencsér Linda; Miklósí Ádám;
12th IEEE/IFIP Annual Mediterranean Ad Hoc Networking Workshop (Med-Hoc-Net) Talk given at a conference On-line supervised learning of link quality estimates in wireless networks 24.06.2013 Corsica, France Gambardella Luca Maria; Feo Flushing Eduardo Marcelo; Di Caro Gianni;
28th ACM Symposium on Applied Computing (SAC) Talk given at a conference Talk 18.03.2013 Coimbra, Portugal, Portugal Feo Flushing Eduardo Marcelo;
7th International Conference on Bio-Inspired Models of Network, Information, and Computing Systems (BIONETICS) Talk given at a conference Talk 10.12.2012 Lugano, Switzerland, Switzerland Di Caro Gianni; Feo Flushing Eduardo Marcelo;
2nd Workshop on Robots and Sensors integration in future rescue INformation system (ROSIN) Talk given at a conference Talk 07.10.2012 Vilamoura, Portugal, Portugal Feo Flushing Eduardo Marcelo;
Third Canine Science Froum Talk given at a conference Talks 25.07.2012 Barcelona, Spain, Spain Miklósí Ádám; Gergely Anna; Gerencsér Linda;
Workshop on Mobility and Communication for Cooperation and Coordination (MC3), co-located with International Conference on Computing, Networking and Communications (ICNC) Talk given at a conference Talk 30.01.2012 Maui, Hawaii, USA, United States of America Feo Flushing Eduardo Marcelo;
Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2011 IEEE/RSJ Talk given at a conference Talk 05.12.2011 San Francisco, USA, United States of America Feo Flushing Eduardo Marcelo; Di Caro Gianni; Gambardella Luca Maria;
50th FITCE International Congress - ICT: brigding an ever shifting digital divide Talk given at a conference Talk 31.08.2011 Palermo, Italy, Italy Feo Flushing Eduardo Marcelo; Di Caro Gianni;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Workshop on Mobility and Communication for Cooperation and Coordination (MC3), co-located with International Conference on Computing, Networking and Communications (ICNC) 30.01.2012 Maui, Hawaii, USA, United States of America

Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Supervised learning of link quality estimates in wireless networks Talk 16.01.2014 Dortmund, Technischen Universität Dortmund, Germany Feo Flushing Eduardo Marcelo;
Increasing Autonomy of the Fixed Wing Robots Talk 07.01.2013 Univ. of Zagreb, IEEE Croatian Section, Robotics and Automation Society Chapter, Zagreb, Croatia, Croatia Varga Maja;
Humans, dogs and flying robots in search-and-rescue missions Talk 20.12.2011 University of Zagreb, IEEE Croatian Section, Robotics and Automation Society Chapter, Croatia Varga Maja;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media Drohnen sollen Suchhunde lotsen 20 Minuten Western Switzerland German-speaking Switzerland 2014
Talks/events/exhibitions Family Dog Project: “Help me little car!” / More than a leash: dogs on-line International 2013
Talks/events/exhibitions Scientifica 2013, Zürcher Wissenschaftstage German-speaking Switzerland 2013
Video/Film SWARMIX Demo (Youtube) International 2013
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Interview about Swarmix Robohub International 2012
Media relations: radio, television Robot report TV report for BBC Arabic International 2012
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) SWARMIX Robots Podcast International 2012
Media relations: radio, television Unmanned Flying Drones ”DeutscheWelle” in the Spectrum show International 2012

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
120039 New sampling-based metaheurisrics for stochastic vehicle routing problems 01.08.2008 Project funding (Div. I-III)
116149 Bio-inspired Vision-based Microflyers 01.04.2007 Project funding (Div. I-III)
178296 Introducing People to Research in Robotics through an Extended Peer Community in Southern Switzerland 01.09.2018 Agora
119720 Robust Optimization: theory and applications 01.02.2009 Project funding (Div. I-III)
116674 Unifying graphical models by credal networks: algorithms and applications 01.03.2008 Project funding (Div. I-III)
157952 FLY.NET 2014: Micro and Nano Aerial Vehicle Networks for Civilian Use 01.10.2014 International Exploratory Workshops

Abstract

The proposed research is about laying the foundations for the design, implementation, and adaptive control of heterogenous multi-agent systems that are composed of humans, animals, and robots working in cooperation to solve distributed tasks that require a wide diversity of sensory-motor and cognitive skills. In the following, we will refer to such systems as mixed swarms, hence the project code name SWARMIX. The aim is to provide each component of the mixed swarm with a high level of autonomy in order to allow it to fully exploit its own unique skills and abilities, and at the same time to set up close bidirectional interactions and information flows between all system components in order to ensure overall synergistic cooperation. The main novelty ofthis project lies in the cooperative integration of a possibly large number of humans, animals, and robots in tight cooperation in one single networked system with distributed control. To the best of our knowledge this would be the first research addressing peer-to-peer cooperation between humans, animals, and robots.The research work in the SWARMIX project will be guided by the creation of a specific validation scenario composed of humans, dogs, and small-sized UAVs aimed at performing search-and-rescue (SAR) missions in outdoor civilian domains. We believe that concentrating on one example is important given the vast possibilities in the ways mixed swarms can be composed and applied. A practical implementation will help guide the development of theoretical work and provide a testbed for new ideas. The choice for search-and-rescue missions is inspired by their practical/humanitarian relevance, and by the fact that these applications are often used in the scientific domain as referencetest to assess the performance of collective cooperative systems. In order to validate our research and to emphasize the synergistic cooperation between partners, the SWARMIX project will include a rigorous experimental protocol in the context of the SAR scenario, where success will be measured by the capability of the swarm as aunit to locate targets in distributed environments more reliably and/or faster than each group of agents in isolation or even in pairwise combinations.Our research will focus on the one hand on the identification and development of technology that is needed to use and extend the sensory-motor skills of the different agents and to support communication between them, and on the other hand on the creation of intelligent algorithms and protocols that allow synergistic interaction and control within the heterogenous swarm. To break down the complexity of the generalproblem at hand, we identify four fundamental directions of research, that are addressed in the individual sub-projects: 1) wireless networking for highly dynamic heterogenous agents studied at ETHZ-TIK, 2) adaptive profiling of agent and mission status, and swarm-level planning of agent activities studied at IDSIA, 3) intuitive inter-agent communication interfaces and local control of agent behaviors studied at EPFL-LIS, 4) training, control, and monitoring of dogs for full integration in the swarm studied at ELU. Each of these four research directions stands by itself and addresses fundamental scientific issues. It is from the interaction among these four research directions and their integration into one common view and real-life application that we can obtain a true synergy of results and provide answers to the main challenge of this project, namely adaptive cooperation in heterogenous, multi-agent systems to perform tasks more efficiently.
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