What is the overall objective of Phoenix?

The objective of the Phoenix is to develop a method to explore unknown and inaccessible environments. This involves three issues:

  1. the development of a co-evolutionary framework
  2. the design of versatile agent technology and
  3. techniques to formalize different kinds of expert knowledge, even uncertain knowledge to influence the design of agents and the evolutionary algorithm which influences their evolution and “rebirth” in the Phoenix system.

Achieving these objectives will shed light on emergent properties of self-organization, local adaptation and division of labour in autonomous systems.

Why is Phoenix important for society?

Since the dawn of humankind, humans have explored the Earth directly or through measurement devices. Countless discoveries arose from that activity. The value of exploration cannot be underestimated…

The outcomes of Phoenix are poised to make substantive social impacts.

  1. Mapping pipelines to find obstructions, leaks or faults. This could be part of a strategy to more efficiently deliver drinking water or to prevent contamination.
  2. Exploring underground channels, which cannot be otherwise accessed without damaging them. This could be part of a strategy related to more efficient extraction of oil or natural gas or to the search of natural CO2 storage locations.
  3. Measuring from the depths of glaciers or inside volcanos. This could be part of a strategy to better model climate change.

For now, we focus on the first use-case. We believe that the outcome from this line of research will be part of the foundation we need to elaborate more complex use-cases like the second and third one above.


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