Advisory Board

Professor Marco Dorigo

The NewScientist article Robot swarm works together to shift heavy objects said

A “swarm” of simple-minded robots that teams up to move an object too heavy for them to manage individually has been demonstrated by robotics researchers.
The robots cannot communicate and must act only on what they can see around them. They follow simple rules to fulfil their task — mimicking the way insects work together in a swarm.
The robots were developed by Marco Dorigo at the Free University of Brussels, Belgium, along with colleagues at the Institute of Cognitive Science and Technology in Italy and the Autonomous Systems Laboratory and Dalle Molle Institute for the Study of Artificial Intelligence, both in Switzerland.
“In the future we might have robots that actively seek help from others when they come up a problem they can’t solve alone,” says Dorigo, “For example if a robot can’t climb an obstacle without tipping over it might go back and get others to climb over as a group.”

Marco Dorigo, Ph.D. is a research director of the IRIDIA lab at the Université Libre de Bruxelles and inventor of the Ant Colony Optimization metaheuristic for combinatorial optimization problems.
Marco is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Swarm Intelligence, associate editor for eight international journals, member of the editorial board of five international journals, and fellow of the IEEE. He was awarded the Dr A. De Leeuw-Damry-Bourlart Award in Applied Sciences by the Belgian Fund for Scientific Research in 2005, the Marie Curie Excellence Award by the European Commission in 2003, and the Italian Prize for Artificial Intelligence by the Italian Association for Artificial Intelligence in 1996.
Marco coedited Ant Colony Optimization and Swarm Intelligence: 5th International Workshop, ANTS 2006, Brussels, Belgium, September 4–7, 2006, Proceedings (Lecture Notes in Computer Science) and Ant Algorithms: Third International Workshop, ANTS 2002, Brussels, Belgium, September 12–14, 2002. Proceedings (Lecture Notes in Computer Science), and coauthored Robot Shaping: An Experiment in Behavior Engineering (Intelligent Robotics and Autonomous Agents), Swarm Intelligence: From Natural to Artificial Systems (Santa Fe Institute Studies in the Sciences of Complexity Proceedings), and Ant Colony Optimization.
His publications available online include Positive Feedback as a Search Strategy, Ant-Q: A reinforcement learning approach to the traveling salesman problem, Robot Shaping: Developing Autonomous Agents Through Learning, Ant Algorithms for Discrete Optimization, Implicit Parallelism in Genetic Algorithms, Editorial Introduction to the Special Issue on Learning Autonomous Robots, AntNet: Distributed Stigmergetic Control for Communications Networks, and Hole avoidance: Experiments in coordinated motion on rough terrain. Read the full list of his publications!
Marco earned a Laurea (Master) in Industrial Technologies Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Italy in 1986, a Ph.D. in System and Information Engineering at Politecnico di Milano, Italy in 1992 and a grégé de l’Enseignement Supérieur where his dissertation was “The Robot Shaping Approach to Behavior Engineering” at Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium in 1995. He is fluent in Italian, English, and French. He knows basic German.
Watch a sped up video of a team of his robots working together to map out a path from a red object to a blue target. (None of these bots can see far enough to work out the route between the object and its target for themselves.) Listen to him on a “Talking Robots” podcast.