Hybrid Encounters: Speaker Introduction - Tim Landgraf

Our next event is coming closer: For »Hybrid Encounters. Art meets Science - Art, biology and algorithms« on May 25th, 7pm at UdK’s Concert Hall, the artist Tomás Saraceno has invited guests to discuss what one might learn from analyzing spider colonies and bringing this knowledge to other disciplines – such as artificial intelligence. After introducing Alex Jordan and Prof. Dr. Ingo Rechenberg in the past, today we want to present Prof. Dr. Tim Landgraf and his work to you:

Tim Landgraf is Professor of Biorobotics and Collective Intelligence at Freie Universität Berlin and is investigating collective intelligence in biological model systems such as honeybees and fish using modern methods in Machine Learning, Robotics and Computer Vision. He has built the first honeybee robot that is able to communicate with bees, has developed the first system that tracks all honeybees in a colony and built robotic fish that can autonomously integrate themselves in fish shoals.

Tim Landgraf started his academic career in Berlin, where he also obtained his PhD in degree with Randolf Menzel, renowned zoologist and neurobiologist, and Raúl Rojas, computer scientist at Freie Universität. He became fascinated by both the individual and collective intelligence of honeybees and - thanks to a Fulbright fellowship - moved to California to study more honeybee biology with bee expert Kirk Visscher. Upon his return to Germany he established a junior research group, the Biorobotics Lab, to learn about the beauty of biological systems with modern tools such as robotics and machine learning.

He extended his interest to the collective behavior of fish and developed the RoboFish system with well-known swarm intelligence authority Jens Krause. Intrigued by how agile brains can learn the relevant structure of the world, he puts honeybees on quadrocopters to record and analyze their brain activity while navigating in the field. To foster development in the field and to encourage biologists to embrace the new tools he puts the source code and hardware specs of his developments in the public domain, such as recently the first system to track all honeybees in the colony. Last year he co-founded the Dahlem Center for Machine Learning and Robotics and currently develops ideas to apply honeybee intelligence to human »swarms« such as in our future traffic of self-driving cars.

We’re looking forward on Prof. Landgrafs contribution to Hybrid Encounters, especially his expertise on the aspect of learning about collective behavior with robotics and machine learning.

- Elias