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Are Sensor Networks a first step towards the Diamond Age?

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In Neal Stephenson’s award winning novel, The Diamond age, he describes programmable nanotechnology that can collaborate and form things. Today we have chirping, self-organising, adaptive and intelligent tiny computers that are beginning to enter both the market and people’s homes, performing various monitoring and control duties. From Google’s self-drive cars to the walls of modern office blocks, these simple devices are talking to each other in intelligent ways, mimicking the collective behaviour of insect colonies to overcome individual failures or changes in the local environment. After a decade as an academic pursuit, there is now a strong belief that these could enable whole new programmable architectures, where processing power is pushed out to these small devices in the field. But are we getting ahead of ourselves? Whilst the technology advances, underlying research into their behaviours, security, reliability and resistance to failure mustn’t be left behind. In this talk Julie McCann will introduce some of her work in this field and discuss the possibility of a technological trajectory towards the aforementioned Diamond Age.

This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory Wednesday Seminars series.

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