Scholarpedia defines Swarm intelligence as the discipline that deals with natural and artificial systems composed of many individuals that coordinate using decentralized control and self-organization. In particular, the discipline focuses on the collective behaviors that result from the local interactions of the individuals with each other and with their environment. Examples of systems studied by swarm intelligence are colonies of ants and termites, schools of fish, flocks of birds, herds of land animals. Some human artifacts also fall into the domain of swarm intelligence, notably some multi-robot systems, and also certain computer programs that are written to tackle optimization and data analysis problems. Scientific vs. Engineering: An alternative and somehow more informative classification of swarm intelligence research can be given based on the goals that are pursued: we can identify a scientific and an engineering stream. The goal of the scientific stream is to model swarm intelligence systems and to single out and understand the mechanisms that allow a system as a whole to behave in a coordinated way as a result of local individual-individual and individual-environment interactions. On the other hand, the goal of the engineering stream is to exploit the understanding developed by the scientific stream in order to design systems that are able to solve problems of practical relevance.
Swarm, Robotics & Nanotechnology
How does it relate to healthcare?
No matter how advanced, most of the available cancer treatments still cause side effects by spreading across the patient’s body from the bloodstream, attacking both healthy and cancerous cells. To minimize the harm, the therapy should be focused on attacking malignancies only. Precision medicine and personalized therapies promise to minimize side effects by being tailored to patient genetics. However, such treatment can’t be applied to all cancer types and to any patient. Swarm robotics has the potential to take personalized cancer treatment up a notch. Swarming nanobots might interact with cancerous cells and destroy the tumor from within, injecting the drug directly, and unlocking the possibility to avoid any impact on healthy tissue. Other researchers are exploring the idea of nanobots being the treatment itself, drilling into cancerous cells and blasting them in just one minute. These bots can identify malignant cells and attach to them. When activated with light, the bots spin with the speed of about 2 million to 3 million times per second, killing the cell without any chemicals used. The concluding take on these discoveries is that, collective intelligence distributed among simple bots can achieve state of the art results in the future of health care industry.