Computing for Ocean Environments: Bio-Inspired Underwater Devices & Swarming Algorithms for Robotic Vehicles

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Assistant Professor Wim van Rees and his team have developed simulations of self-propelled undulatory swimmers to better understand how fish-like deformable fins could improve propulsion in underwater devices, seen here in a top-down view. MIT ocean and mechanical engineers are using advances in scientific computing to address the ocean's many challenges, and seize its opportunities. There are few environments as unforgiving as the ocean. Its unpredictable weather patterns and limitations in terms of communications have left large swaths of the ocean unexplored and shrouded in mystery. "The ocean is a fascinating environment with a number of current challenges like microplastics, algae blooms, coral bleaching, and rising temperatures," says Wim van Rees, the ABS Career Development Professor at MIT. "At the same time, the ocean holds countless opportunities -- from aquaculture to energy harvesting and exploring the many ocean creatures we haven't discovered yet."

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