Nature-inspired systems (and algorithms) for the Industry
Author: Pierre Collet
Before electronic computers existed, all computation was done by hand. For instance, all the strength and structure resistance computations necessary to design the Eiffel tower were computed by hand. When computers were invented, in the second half of the XXth century, they were thought of machines that considerably accelerated the computations previously done by hand, but not more.
On the other hand, natural and biological processes have evolved as an answer to the second law of thermodynamics, as interestingly enough, order can be more dissipative than disorder. Therefore, Nature kept popping up with new innovative dissipating structures, emerged from this irrepressible need to better exchange energy. Now, if we can instill this natural quest into computers, they will become as creative as Nature, and will come up with the best possible solutions to solve problems we give them to solve.
Before 2000, the task of finding better solutions to industrial problems was falling upon engineers. Now that natural emergent processes are better understood thanks to the new science of Complex Systems, it is possible to insert them into computers and have them find out the best ways to solve the industrial problem.
Since 2000, computers are capable to routinely find better solutions to industrial problems than human engineers. The new trend in industry should therefore be to insert more nature-inspired systems (and algorithms) that can be more efficient in finding efficient solutions than human engineers.