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Today we’re joined by Orit Peleg, an assistant professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Orit’s work focuses on understanding the behavior of disordered living systems, by merging tools from physics, biology, engineering, and computer science. In our conversation, we discuss how Orit found herself exploring problems of swarming behaviors and their relationship to distributed computing system architecture and spiking neurons. We look at two specific areas of research, the first focused on the patterns observed in firefly species, how the data is collected, and the types of algorithms used for optimization. Finally, we look at how Orit’s research with fireflies translates to a completely different insect, the honeybee, and what the next steps are for investigating these and other insect families.