Emanuele will be speaking soon at the Artificial Life Conference- Odense, next 19-23 August 2010. He is presenting his latest research in collaboration with Jeff Jones and Andrew Adamatzky of the International Center for Unconventional Computing,University of the West of England, Bristol.
This is the abstract: “Our research aims at studying to what extent, and under what conditions, the emergent behaviour of living organisms at the microscopic scale illuminates structure and dynamics of spatial systems at the macroscopic scale. Characteristics such as resilience, spreading, efficiency and mutation over time are shared in both domains. Recently several efforts have been undertaken especially by scholars in biology and the physics of complex networks in this field. However a relevant gap still exists to prove the real potential of this approach and to suggest conclusions beyond the pure analogy. One organism that, because of its variety of behaviours and size, is particularly suitable for this simulation is the slime mold Physarum polycephalum, a giant unicellular multinucleate protist. Physarum has a complex life cycle but its plasmodium stage of vegetative growth exhibits complex pattern forming dynamics as the morphology of the plasmodial transport network adapts to the spatial configuration presented by the environment. By exploiting this morphological adaptation Physarum has been shown to approximate the solutions to a number of classical geometry problems by optimizing food foraging and hazard avoidance. Similar low level dynamics appear to drive the formation and development of territorial systems of cities and roads at the macroscopic (regional) scale, i.e. allocation, growth/contraction of cities as dependent on flows of goods, people and information. We will informally present preliminary results of road network simulations by Physarum polycephalum, the road network is the ancient Roman streets system. Results suggest interesting considerations about the potential of further bio-inspired urban geography studies”.