This workshop will bring together researchers in biology, robotics and computer science who study distributed physical systems: swarms, hives, colonies, and multi-robot teams. The main goal is to enable rigorous discussion of the common system constraints and algorithmic solutions employed by natural and artificial swarms.

The first requirement is to identify similarities in our respective high-level models of sensing, communication, processing, and mobility, and discuss how these models constrain the distributed algorithms employed by natural and artificial systems. What fundamental mathematical theories underly both biological models of swarm behavior and the design of robotic teams? What analytical tools are commonly used in one field, which may be of benefit to the other? What specific common constraints apply to the solutions found by nature and robot engineers? When do roboticists wish they knew more biology? When do biologists wish they knew more computer science or control theory? Are there valid equivalences between natural and robotic distributed systems at the algorithmic level? What tasks and applications for swarm technology are most like those of their natural counterparts? What is the most productive way to use "natural algorithms" in distributed robotics?.

Roboticists can learn from state-of-the-art biological research precise models of both high-level group behavior and the individual-level algorithms used locally by the organisms. Biologists, on the other hand, can learn from current research in robotics and computer science analytical tools from subjects such as graph theory and complexity theory, to aid in the development and testing of models. Collectively, we will compile a catalog of analytical tools that are popular, or should be popular, in biological and robotic swarm research, and give an introductory summary of these ideas to provide a common analytical foundation for all participants. We plan on inviting guest speakers whose work is exemplary in this field. Most of the workshop will be moderated sessions of informal discussion, the purpose of which is to search for correspondence between biological and artificial swarms at the algorithmic level. Participants be warned: these discussion sessions will feature creative formats of forced interaction to prevent members of each discipline from sitting on opposite sides of the room.

We welcome participants from the robotic fields of swarm robotics, team robotics, modular robotics and other distributed robotic systems. We welcome participation from biologists specializing in the study of group behavior and organisms comprising such groups. Prospective speakers will be asked to submit an extended abstract of their presentation, with less emphasis on their current research and a strong focus on algorithmic equivalences between biological and robotic distributed systems. Previously published research is acceptable if it fits the goals of the workshop. Accepted abstracts will be made available in a digital archive.