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THIS MONTH'S TOPIC: Birds, Bees, and Boids

Everyone's seen birds flying, ants foraging, bees working, and fish swimming — all with the apparent purpose and coordination of a single conscious organism. But with no leader, no centralized management, how does each individual participant know what to do and where to go? The collective behavior of such animals — each oblivious to the master plan, but contributing to the group's goals and success — is what's known as swarm intelligence. Researchers have found that such self-organizing systems function through constant interactions between individuals, each of which is following simple rules. In 1986, computer graphics researcher Craig Reynolds created a steering program called boids, in which life-like graphical objects follow three basic rules of motion. The result looks awfully familiar. (http://www.red3d.com/cwr/boids/) He is now a leader in the field of computer animated crowd simulation, doing research on visual effects for films and video games. Tonight Craig will talk with us about his work and how it relates to biology, society, business, robots, and more!

Speaker: Craig Reynolds; Senior Researcher at Sony Computer Entertainment US R&D

ABOUT THE SERIES: Ask a Scientist is an informative, entertaining, monthly lecture series, held at a San Francisco cafe. Each event features a speaker on a scientific topic, a short presentation, and the opportunity to ask all those burning questions that have been keeping you up at night. No tests, grades, or pressure…just food, drinks, socializing, and conversation about the universe’s most fascinating mysteries. http://www.askascientistSF.com

Official Website: http://www.askascientistSF.com

Added by fourquarts on April 5, 2008