Bacterial Collective Behaviors and Decision Making

Speaker:Professor Eshel Ben-Jacob
Affiliation:Tel Aviv University
Location:Lidow Rosen Auditorium (323)

Bacteria, the first and most fundamental of all organisms, lead rich social life in complex hierarchical communities. Collectively, they gather information

from the environment, learn from past experience, and take decisions. To solve the new encountered problems they first assess the problem via collective

sensing, recall stored information of past experience and then they all participate in distributed information processing.   The billions of bacteria in the

colony use sophisticated communication strategies to link the intracellular computation networks of each bacterium (including signaling pathways of

billions of molecules) into a network of networks. I will then show illuminating movies of swarming intelligence of live bacteria in which they

solve challenging optimization problems for collective decision making. I will explain that current game theory is too simplistic to account for bacteria's

decision making and that understanding bacteria's reactions to stressful and hazardous conditions may help to understand human decision-making processes.

Bacteria are simpler yet they can effectively control the individual decision process leading to group decisions for the well-being of the entire colony.