We introduce the Xpuck swarm, a research platform with an aggregate raw processing power in excess of two teraflops. The swarm uses 16 e-puck robots augmented with custom hardware that uses the substantial CPU and GPU processing power available from modern mobile system-on-chip devices. The augmented robots, called Xpucks, have at least an order of magnitude greater performance than previous swarm robotics platforms. The platform enables new experiments that require high individual robot computation and multiple robots. Uses include online evolution or learning of swarm controllers, simulation for answering what-if questions about possible actions, distributed super-computing for mobile platforms, and real-world applications of swarm robotics that requires image processing, or SLAM. The teraflop swarm could also be used to explore swarming in nature by providing platforms with similar computational power as simple insects. We demonstrate the computational capability of the swarm by implementing a fast physics-based robot simulator and using this within a distributed island model evolutionary system, all hosted on the Xpucks.
A Two Teraflop Swarm
Simon Jones, Matthew Studley, Sabine Hauert, and Alan Winfield
Front. Robot. AI, 19 February 2018 | https://doi.org/10.3389/frobt.2018.00011