BEACON Distinguished Postdoc Amir Gandomi was recently interviewed about his work in Zygote Quarterly, after his talk at the 1st NASA Biomimicry Summit and Education Forum, called “an uncommon event of cross-fertilization co-sponsored by the NASA Glenn Research Center, Great Lakes Biomimicry, and the Ohio Aerospace Institute.” The full proceedings of the summit will be published by the Virtual Institute for Bio-inspired Exploration.
Would you please tell us about nature-inspired computation?
Nature-inspired computation (NIC) has been widely used during the last two decades and has remained a highly-researched topic, especially for complex real-world problems. The NIC techniques are a subset of artificial intelligence, but they are slightly different from the classical methods in the sense that the intelligence of NIC comes from biological systems or nature in general. The efficiency of NIC is due to its significant ability to abstract key principles of evolution in nature, which has shown its capability over millions of years.
What impact do you hope/expect/intend your conference talk to have on your profession and/ or others? How will it advance the field?
First, I hope I could encourage people to consider natural computing for their problems. I have shown nature-inspired computation applications in three main stages of engineering systems including modeling, optimization, and monitoring, and I intended to express its applicability to a wide range of problems such as engineering optimization and (big) data mining. To me, all real-world problems can be defined as optimization problems as we have objective(s) and variables in all of them. Therefore, I hope people also will get a sense that nature-inspired computation can be used for their problems even if they are dealing with a complex and blackbox system. Finally, I would like to encourage researchers to look at nature as a well-trained system and consider it as a source of inspiration no matter what their topics.
What are your impressions of the current state of bio-inspired computation?
Nowadays and after reporting successful cases, more researchers are interested in bio-inspired computation, and several centers have emerged recently focusing on these topics. Our center (BEACON Center) is an NSF science and technology center which focuses on bio-inspired approaches and bio-inspired computation in particular. This center is a consortium of five different universities which shows high interest in such a topic which also increases every day.