Prof Guy Theraulaz, a world leader in the field of collective behaviour, visited CES as IISc Infosys Chair Professor from 4th Sept 2019 to 23rd Sept 2019. Prof Theraulaz is currently a senior research fellow at the National Center for Scientific Research CNRS). He is also a leading researcher in the field of swarm intelligence, primarily studying social insects but also distributed algorithms, e.g. for collective robotics, directly inspired by nature. His research focuses on the understanding of a broad spectrum of collective behaviours in animal societies by quantifying and then modelling the individual-level behaviours and interactions, thereby elucidating the mechanisms generating the emergent, group-level properties. He was one of the main characters of the development of quantitative social ethology and collective intelligence in France. He published many papers on nest construction in ant and wasp colonies, collective decision in ants and cockroaches, collective motion in fish schools and pedestrian crowds and collective intelligence in human groups. He has also co-authored five books, among which Swarm Intelligence: From Natural to Artificial Systems (Oxford University Press, 1999) and Self-organization in biological systems (Princeton University Press, 2001) that are now considered as classic reference textbooks.
The visit was funded by the Infosys Foundation grant to IISc. He was hosted by Prof Vishwesha Guttal at the Centre for Ecological Sciences.
During the visit, the lab members of Dr Vishwesha Guttal organized an interdisciplinary one-day symposium titled Collective behaviour. Around 10 faculty members from IISc and other institutions gave presentations. Prof Theraulaz also gave a fascinating special seminar at the Collective behaviour symposium on self-organized nest architecture.
Apart from faculty members at CES, Prof Theraulaz held a whole range of discussions with faculty members spread across the Institute as well as neighbouring institutions such as NCBS and ICTS. Some faculty members he met included: Prof Ashish Verma (Civil engineering), Prof Renee Borges (CES), Prof Rohini Balakrishnan (CES), Prof Sanjay Sane (NCBS), Prof Axel Brockmann (NCBS), Dr Danny Raj (Chemical engineering), etc.