Advances in control engineering have made it possible to manipulate the motion of man-made objects such as automobiles, hard disks, and drones with a high degree of precision and reliability. In the case of hard disks, for example, the readout device is controlled with nanometer-order precision. The concept of feedback control plays an indispensable role in the design of antilock braking systems, which are now indispensable in automobiles. Significant advances in the control of individual artifacts, both theoretical and applied, occurred in the 20th century.
On the other hand, the control of the movement of large numbers of nonartificial objects, especially biological populations, remains a difficult problem. Variations in individual characteristics, lack of reliable dynamic models, and non-negligible non-linearities make it difficult to approach the problem using conventional control engineering alone. Therefore, the Wakamiya Laboratory is developing innovative information and communication technologies for guiding biological populations by learning from living organisms while taking advantage of the strengths of control engineering.
Our research targets a wide range of biological communities, including livestock, fish, birds, and swarms. We develop information and communication technologies that are appropriate to the characteristics of each flock, the characteristics of its environment, the range of possible control strategies, and the objectives of guidance. We use both theory and simulation in a flexible manner and continuously improve our techniques by applying them to real communities.
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