Insect Homing: Mechanisms and Models

31. August 2011 - 02. September 2011

Bees, wasps and ants show amazing navigation abilities allowing them to navigate between feeding sites and their nest, despite the small size of their brains which contain less than a million neurons. Understanding the insects’ navigation strategies is also of great interest for the design of compact technical systems, being simple, not requiring high computational power, and nevertheless efficient to guide the agent to its goal. The workshop will bring together researchers of international renown from the fields of insect navigation and the theory of insect-inspired artificial navigation mechanisms. The goal of this highly interdisciplinary endeavour is to identify new concepts for a comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms used by insects for navigation and spatial cognition. We will analyse the capacity of current models and explanations for insect homing in close cooperation between biologists and theorists and identify those bio-inspired principles of navigation mechanisms that might be implemented in artificial systems, such as robots. The format of the workshop is designed to encourage discussions and the development of new ideas and concepts. Apart from “classical” lectures in the morning, given by world leading experts on animal, animat, and robot navigation on the core topics of the field, the participants will work on solutions for selected and potentially controversial subjects in small discussion groups in the afternoon.