Thomas Schmickl

Thomas Schmickl
Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz | KFU Graz · Institute of Biology

Univ. Prof. Dr. Mag.

About

255
Publications
47,309
Reads
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3,512
Citations
Introduction
I am interested in swarm systems (biological and robots), in evolutionary systems (biological and artificial) and in ecological modeling. These topics are taught also in my courses at the Karl-Franzens-University Graz, Austria, University of Applied Sciences in St, Pölten, Austria and ETSU (USA). My homepage: https://www.thomasschmickl.eu
Additional affiliations
May 2012 - June 2021
Karl-Franzens Universität Graz
Position
  • Professor (Full)
Description
  • I am leader and founder of the Artificial Life Lab Graz, head of the Social Insect and Swarm Behaviour research group in the Department of Zoology, and founder and speaker (head) of the Field of Excellence COLIBRI (Complexity of Life in basic Research and Innovation).

Publications

Publications (255)
Article
Full-text available
The perceptions and definitions of healthy indoor environments have changed significantly throughout architectural history. Today, molecular biology teaches us that microbes play important roles in human health, and that isolation from them puts not only us but also other inhabitants of urban landscapes, at risk. In order to provide an environment...
Article
Full-text available
Honey bees live in colonies of thousands of individuals, that not only need to collaborate with each other but also to interact intensively with their ecosystem. A small group of robots operating in a honey bee colony and interacting with the queen bee, a central colony element, has the potential to change the collective behavior of the entire colo...
Chapter
Full-text available
The original version of the Chapter “The Use of Robots in Aquatic Biomonitoring with Special Focus on Biohybrid Entities” was previously published as non-open access. It has now been changed to Open Access under the CC BY 4.0 license and the copyright holder updated to ‘The Author(s)’. The book and the chapter have been updated with this change.
Preprint
Full-text available
Predictions of emergent phenomena, appearing on the macroscopic layer of a complex system, can fail if they are made by a microscopic model. This study demonstrates and analyses this claim on a well-known complex system, Conway's Game of Life. Straightforward macroscopic mean-field models are easily capable of predicting such emergent properties af...
Article
Full-text available
Facing the threat of rapidly worsening water quality, there is an urgent need to develop novel approaches of monitoring its global supplies and early detection of environmental fluctuations. Global warming, urban growth and other factors have threatened not only the freshwater supply but also the well-being of many species inhabiting it. Traditiona...
Article
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Social insect colonies show all characteristics of complex adaptive systems (CAS). Their complex behavioral patterns arise from social interactions that are based on the individuals’ reactions to and interactions with environmental stimuli. We study here how social and environmental factors modulate and bias the collective thermotaxis of young hone...
Article
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Vibratory signals play a major role in the organization of honeybee colonies. Due to the seemingly chaotic nature of the mechano-acoustic landscape within the hive, it is difficult to understand the exact meaning of specific substrate-borne signals. Artificially generated vibrational substrate stimuli not only allow precise frequency and amplitude...
Article
Full-text available
We develop here a novel hypothesis that may generate a general research framework of how autonomous robots may act as a future contingency to counteract the ongoing ecological mass extinction process. We showcase several research projects that have undertaken first steps to generate the required prerequisites for such a technology-based conservatio...
Conference Paper
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Here we present the novel concept of a method called Ecosystem Hacking, in which the stability of decaying ecosystems is aimed to be supported by the introduction of biomimetic robots that interact with their natural counterparts. We briefly discuss previous research projects that established such robot-organism interactions with plants or animals...
Preprint
Worldwide, ecosystems are on the brink of collapsing, species loss is on the rise, and most environmental stressors can be attributed to human activities. We propose a novel paradigm of constructing an ecologically effective agent as a method of intervening in ecologically stressed environments. Designing biohybrid artefacts from living building bl...
Article
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In evolutionary robotics, an encoding of the control software that maps sensor data (input) to motor control values (output) is shaped by stochastic optimization methods to complete a predefined task. This approach is assumed to be beneficial compared to standard methods of controller design in those cases where no a priori model is available that...
Chapter
Swarm robotics is mainly inspired by the collective behaviour of social animals in nature. Among different behaviours such as foraging and flocking performed by social animals; aggregation behaviour is often considered as the most basic and fundamental one. Aggregation behaviour has been studied in different domains for over a decade. In most of th...
Chapter
The common stomach regulation system, albeit originally found in wasp societies, could be applied to other insect societies as well. We generalized the concept of the common stomach and applied this new concept to describe task allocation mechanisms for Ectatomma ants and honeybees. In these systems, the in- and outflow of the essential materials a...
Chapter
This introductory chapter of the book has two main goals. First, we outline why a stronger connection between Biology and Mathematics (especially modeling) could provide new insights into current biological problems. Second, we map out the central theme of this monograph and the logical connections among the following chapters with each other. We b...
Chapter
Forest fires do not only destroy plants, animals, and structures, but also change the ecology of the habitat. While research of fire dynamics is a hot topic, there are many controversial issues in the field. Forest fires are commonly considered best examples for a scale-free, power-law distribution. We developed a model of a simple ecosystem that q...
Chapter
Population interactions are the centerpiece of many ecological studies. Especially the roles of competition and predation on populations on dynamics and evolution have remained a hot topic since Lotka and Volterra’s classical works. However, understanding how these population interactions are interacting with each other has remained elusive. We tes...
Chapter
Insect societies are a prime model system to investigate the processes of homeostasis, self-organization and the emergent properties of complex systems. Using both top-down and bottom-up modeling techniques, we show here how effective a simple regulatory mechanism (we name it “common stomach regulation”) can be in sustaining the stability of the sy...
Chapter
Homeostatic self-regulation is an essential aspect of open dissipative systems presented in the previous chapters. These systems show strong resilience against perturbations and are regulated by interactions networks. In this chapter, we generalize our findings and present the regulation role of redundant (predominantly, negative) feedback systems...
Chapter
Habitat destruction and fragmentation are common processes across multiple temporal and spatial scales in ecosystems. Beyond the naturally occurring perturbations (floods, fires), human society has reshaped most of the natural biomes, but the consequences of these processes are not fully understood. To study the effect of fragmentation and compartm...
Article
Swarm Intelligence (SI) is a popular multi-agent framework that has been originally inspired by swarm behaviors observed in natural systems, such as ant and bee colonies. In a system designed after swarm intelligence, each agent acts autonomously, reacts on dynamic inputs, and, implicitly or explicitly, works collaboratively with other swarm member...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Human mate selection behavior in digital environments is, despite the rise of online dating, not well understood. In this paper, swiping apps are simulated by using an agent-based model. Implementing empirically derived data from other studies, the aim of this study is to investigate the fairness of such platforms. Our model predicts that positive...
Article
Full-text available
Robotic swarms and mobile sensor networks are used for environmental monitoring in various domains and areas of operation. Especially in otherwise inaccessible environments, decentralized robotic swarms can be advantageous due to their high spatial resolution of measurements and resilience to failure of individuals in the swarm. However, such robot...
Chapter
Full-text available
Das grundlegende Verständnis lebender Systeme ist ein fundamentales Ziel der Biologie. Dies beginnt mit der eher passiven Beobachtung und Messung und reicht über Manipulations- und Störungsexperimente bis hin zur Erschaffung neuer Lebensvarianten. Mit dem hier vorgestellten ASSISIbf-Manifest gehen wir nun einen deutlichen Schritt weiter und zielen...
Article
Full-text available
Numerous nature inspired algorithms have been suggested to enable robotic swarms, mobile sensor networks and other multi-agent systems to exhibit various self-organized behaviors. Swarm intelligence and swarm robotics research have been underway for a few decades and have produced many such algorithms based on natural self-organizing systems. While...
Chapter
The full text is available under the following link https://www.researchgate.net/publication/339033364_Virtual_Animal_StudiesHybrid_Societies_Cyberbienen_und_bio-hybride_Gesellschaften Enjoy reading.
Book
This monograph, co-authored by three longtime collaborators, aims to promote the interdisciplinary field of mathematical biology by providing accessible new approaches to study natural systems. As there is currently scarce literature on the applications of mathematical modelling for biology research, this book presents a new way of studying interac...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Robot swarms are known to be robust to individual robot failures. However, a reduced swarm size causes a reduced swarm density. A too low swarm density may then decrease swarm performance, that should be compensated by adapting the individual behavior. Similarly, swarm behaviors can also be adapted to changes in the environment, such as dynamic lig...
Article
Full-text available
Biohybrid robotics takes an engineering approach to the expansion and exploitation of biological behaviors for application to automated tasks. Here we identify the construction of living buildings and infrastructure as a high-potential application domain for biohybrid robotics, and review technological advances relevant to its future development. C...
Article
Full-text available
Robot systems are actively researched for manipulation of natural plants, typically restricted to agricultural automation activities such as harvest, irrigation, and mechanical weed control. Extending this research, we introduce here a novel methodology to manipulate the directional growth of plants via their natural mechanisms for signaling and ho...
Chapter
Full-text available
One main motivation for studying swarm intelligence comes from observing the resilience of living systems in nature. Swarm intelligence has provided important inspirations for the engineering of technical systems. The swarmtaxis algorithm and the FSTaxis algorithm are swarm intelligent algorithms that aim to move a group of agents from a starting p...
Article
Full-text available
The selfish herd hypothesis explains how social prey can assemble cohesive groups for maximising individual fitness. However, previous models often abstracted away the physical manifestation of the focal animals such that the influence of getting stuck in a crowded herd on individual adaptation was less intensively investigated. Here, we propose an...
Data
An evolutionary simulation with the crowding effect. When the egoistic agents were forbidden from entering a crowded herd, they evolved into mobile herds through the attempt of border individuals to shift along the edge and share predation risk with the inner neighbours.
Data
It is a description of the two supplementary videos. Please watch the other two supplementary materials.
Data
An evolutionary simulation without the crowding effect. When the egoistic agents had no difficulty to enter a crowded herd, they evolved into stationary herds through the attempt of border individuals to squeeze into the group Interior.
Article
Self-organized collective behavior has been analyzed in diverse types of gregarious animals. Such collective intelligence emerges from the synergy between individuals, which behave at their own time and spatial scales and without global rules. Recently, robots have been developed to collaborate with animal groups in the pursuit of better understand...
Article
In recent ethological studies, the behaviors and interactions of animals have been recorded by digital video cameras and webcams, which provide high functionality at reasonable cost. However, extracting the behavioral data from these videos is a laborious and time-consuming manual task. We recently proposed a novel method for tracking unmarked mult...
Preprint
Robotic swarms and mobile sensor networks are used for environmental monitoring in various domains and areas of operation. Especially in otherwise inaccessible environments decentralized robotic swarms can be advantageous due to their high spatial resolution of measurements and resilience to failure of individuals in the swarm. However, such roboti...
Article
Full-text available
[This corrects the article DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0188004.].
Preprint
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This article describes the conversion of the two-dimensional Primordial Particle System into a threedimensional model that exhibits comparable features. We present the transformed model here in the form of a pseudocode implementation and detail the modifications required for this conversion.
Article
Full-text available
Homeostatic self-regulation is a fundamental aspect of open dissipative systems. Integral feedback has been found to be important for homeostatic control on both the cellular and molecular levels of biological organization and in engineered systems. Analyzing the task allocation mechanisms of three insect societies, we identified a model of integra...
Article
Full-text available
Plant growth is a self-organized process incorporating distributed sensing, internal communication and morphology dynamics. We develop a distributed mechatronic system that autonomously interacts with natural climbing plants, steering their behaviours to grow user-defined shapes and patterns. Investigating this bio-hybrid system paves the way towar...
Conference Paper
In nature, the combination of processes of emotion and cognition has a deep impact on type and quality of reaction to environmental stimuli. In this work, we want to test the feasibility of artificial hormones in artificial neural networks. We take a minimal evolving neural network and look into the implications and opportunities of extending this...
Conference Paper
In this paper the ability of Virtual Embryogenesis system (VE) to initiate and facilitate the build process of a multi-robot organism is presented. According to a single genome, which is spread in the whole organism, substances (morphogenes) are diffused to all neighbouring robots within the organism and new modules are recruited to advance the bui...
Conference Paper
In this article we introduce a variation of the Firefly-Slime mold-Taxis (FSTaxis) algorithm, which is an emergent gradient ascent solution using external environmental influences such as tides, wind among others. Such external environmental influences are useful sources of energy for movement. If utilized, this results in substantial energy saving...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Bio-hybrid systems---close couplings of natural organisms with technology---are high potential and still underexplored. In existing work, robots have mostly influenced group behaviors of animals. We explore the possibilities of mixing robots with natural plants, merging useful attributes. Significant synergies arise by combining the plants' ability...
Chapter
Full-text available
This paper presents the research done in the field of robotic cultural evolution in challenging real world environments. We hereby present these efforts, as part of project subCULTron, where we will create an artificial society of three cooperating sub-cultures of robotic agents operating in a challenging real-world habitat. We introduce the novel...
Article
Natural plants are exemplars of adaptation through self-organisation and collective decision making. As such, they provide a rich source of inspiration for adaptive mechanisms in artificial systems. Plant growth - a structure development mechanism of continuous material accumulation that expresses encoded morphological features through environmenta...
Article
Full-text available
Inspired by natural swarms, numerous control schemes enabling robotic swarms, mobile sensor networks and other multi-agent systems to exhibit various self-organized behaviors have been suggested. In this work, we present a Wave Oriented Swarm Programming Paradigm (WOSPP) enabling the control of swarms with minimalistic communication bandwidth in a...
Chapter
The estimation of the density of a population of behaviourally diverse agents based on limited sensor data is a challenging task. We employed different machine learning algorithms and assessed their suitability for solving the task of finding the approximate number of honeybees in a circular arena based on data from an autonomous stationary robot’s...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, we present a possible control paradigm for swarms of mobile agents with limited communication capabilities. The control paradigm is based on communication and movement strategies from slime mould, that uses 1-bit communication for various behaviours of the super organism. We have found that by varying minor details of the classical s...
Article
Full-text available
Swarm intelligence has interested researchers in various areas of research for several decades because of its stability, resilience and simplicity. Several researchers have used swarm intelligence behaviours to design systems which can accomplish single tasks. In this paper, we will make a step forward by designing a swarm intelligent system that d...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In this paper we report the first results of evolving bio-hybrid societies. Our goal is to have robots that are integrated in an animal society, and here we evolve robot controllers using animals as fitness providers, directly judging the success of integration. In particular, we are using juvenile honeybees and robots that are able to produce vibr...
Conference Paper
This article introduces a novel approach towards modeling evolutionary game-theoretical systems by creating a self-regulating societal ecosystem. We here develop a very simple model of a cooperating agent population that interacts with a dynamically changing environment. These interaction patterns are initially random but adapt with time in a proce...
Article
In a swarm system, for example in a beehive, group decision is based on interactions and interferences of all individuals without a central unit that decides for everybody. When making experiments with young honeybees (Apis mellifera), a swarm algorithm, called BEECLUST, was derived. The algorithm enables swarms to locate the ‘Global-Goal’ out of s...
Article
Full-text available
We propose a new regulation mechanism based on the idea of the “common stomach” to explain several aspects of the resilience and homeostatic regulation of honeybee colonies. This mechanism exploits shared pools of substances (pollen, nectar, workers, brood) that modulate recruitment, abandonment and allocation patterns at the colony-level and enabl...
Data
Supplemental material. (DOCX)