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Courses in Complexity


Desert Ant Navigation: Mini Brains - Mega Tasks – Smart Solutions? By Rüdiger Wehner
University of Zürich and Wissenschaftkolleg zu Berlin
March 29, 2007
*Note: Cancelled, due to illness of speaker*

Abstract: Rüdiger Wehner is one of the most distinguished scientists in Europe, a neurobiologist and social insect researcher. He has also been involved in shaping the science landscape in several European countries. He is a permanent fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (Institute for Advanced Studies), where he initiated a very successful program in Theoretical Biology. Wehner’s research focuses on the extraordinary navigational skills of visually guided desert ants, Cataglyphis.

His work involves interactively combining behavioral analyses with neurophysiological and neuroanatomical studies, computer simulations, and robotics implementations. This interdisciplinary enterprise has led to the analysis of a number of dedicated neural systems that deal with particular aspects of the animal's overall navigational task. How these neural modules interact provides insights into the computational strategies of neural systems and the insect's "distributed intelligence".