1734 Bacteria as Art

Friday, February 19, 2010: 8:30 AM
Room 11B (San Diego Convention Center)
Eshel Ben-Jacob , Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
A wealth of beautiful patterns is formed during colonial development of various bacterial strains. I will show illuminating pictures of colony organization and movies of swarming intelligence of live bacteria in which they solve optimization problems that are beyond what we, human being, can solve with our most powerful computers. The observations will reveal that bacteria, the first and most fundamental of all organisms, lead rich social life in large communities with tantalizing complex organization. Collectively, they gather information from the environment, learn from past experience, and take decisions. To solve newly encountered problems, the bacteria turn the colony into super-brain. Super-brain, because the billions (and at times even trillions) of bacteria in the colony use sophisticated communication strategies to link the intracellular computation networks of each bacterium into a network of processors. I will show that we can learn from the bacteria new principles of how our brain processes information. In turn it will also explain why our brain is so excited by the colony patterns or bacteria art.
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