Collective Behavior

Highly coordinated collective motion is cornerstone of many biological systems, from the cell colonies, insect swarms, bird flocks, to ungulate herds and even human crowds. Moving together in large groups and using social information can provide numerous benefits, including enhanced predator avoidance, more efficient resource exploitation, energy savings and efficient learning of migration routes. In our lab, we use a combination of experimental observations and mathematical modelings to uncover the mechanism of collective behavior. We aim to learn from these natural systems to design efficient multi-robotic systems. We are interested in the following questions:

  • What interaction rules do animals obey?
  • Do the interaction rules vary due to changes of ecological contexts, physics of animal locomotion, or individual differences such as age, experience, social relationship, etc?
  • How do local interactions produce group-level patterns?
  • How does information transfer between group members?