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Bacteria are highly efficient agents that sense, compute, and actuate. Moreover, they can form robust interspecies networks - bacterial communities - via sophisticated communication protocols. We assert that the improved understanding of these communities in the last decade provides a new model for swarm intelligence with distinct advantages, including ease of laboratory experimentation, explicit coupling of communication and behavior, and intergenerational dynamics. The first part of this paper provides a brief overview of bacterial communities in the context of swarm intelligence. The second part describes a promising new application of SI principles inspired by bacterial communities: the design of robust networked embedded and real-time systems.
Date of Conference: 8-10 June 2005