Knowledge Management and Problem Solving in Real Time: The Role of Swarm Intelligence

Chris W Callaghan
Interdisciplinary Journal of Information, Knowledge, and Management  •  Volume 11  •  2016  •  pp. 177-199
Knowledge management research applied to the development of real-time research capability, or capability to solve societal problems in hours and days instead of years and decades, is perhaps increasingly important, given persistent global problems such as the Zika virus and rapidly developing antibiotic resistance. Drawing on swarm intelligence theory, this paper presents an approach to real-time research problem-solving in the form of a framework for understanding the complexity of real-time research and the challenges associated with maximizing collaboration. The objective of this research is to make explicit certain theoretical, methodological, and practical implications deriving from new literature on emerging technologies and new forms of problem solving and to offer a model of real-time problem solving based on a synthesis of the literature. Drawing from ant colony, bee colony, and particle swarm optimization, as well as other population-based metaheuristics, swarm intelligence principles are derived in support of improved effectiveness and efficiency for multidisciplinary human swarm problem-solving. This synthesis seeks to offer useful insights into the research process, by offering a perspective of what maximized collaboration, as a system, implies for real-time problem solving.
Knowledge management, crowdsourcing, swarm solving, theory development, complex problem solving
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