APIUM originated out of a desire to gain hands-on experience with emergent phenomena by building real-world swarms that exploit the intrinsic value of spontaneous coordination in distributed systems. This page summarizes the big picture of APIUM that ties the original philosophical insight (Level 4) through its general (Level 3) and specific (Level 2) value propositions down to the products (Level 1) we create and sell.
level 4 – natural philosophy
Swarming, the spontaneous emergence of stability and coherent group behavior in distributed systems, is ubiquitous and valuable in nature, and should be ubiquitous and valuable for mankind because it embodies so many good things. Swarms are adaptive to their environment, efficient in their behavior, and naturally cooperative. At the same time they preserve the complete autonomy of individual agents and they don’t require detailed oversight. Swarms are very communal, grounded in sharing, with individuals helping themselves by helping the group.
level 3 – a management alternative
Swarming is a distinct alternative to central management. Swarming, as a form of spontaneous coordination, makes complex systems “fall together” and self-simplify. The parts take care of their own interactions so the burden of central management and the battle to manage complexity fade away. Whether we want to make a swarm, or manage a swarming phenomenon like congested traffic, the self-coordination of distributed systems can be a powerful alternative that does an end run on the battle against complexity.
level 2 – value propositions
Swarms are valuable as distributed systems. Swarms of sensors can do synoptic mapping. Adaptive swarms can use their spatial coverage to guide their behavior. And large numbers of small robots can do the work of “a thousand little hands” with less intrusiveness and risk than single, large robots. Swarming dynamics can improve safety and fluidity in crowded situations, and can spontaneously coordinate traffic flow easing the burden of oversight.
level 1 – enabling technologies
Our mission is to promote the adoption of swarm methods by providing the unique algorithms, software, communications protocols, and logistical know-how that will let robotics and vehicle manufacturers embed swarming in their autonomous vehicle systems. Through hands-on experience we aim to develop and package effective solutions so others can access the value of swarming without having to be experts in the field.