Bio-inspired computing is a field of study that loosely knits together subfields related to the topics of connectionism, social behaviour and emergence. It is often closely related to the field of artificial intelligence, as many of its pursuits can be linked to machine learning. It relies heavily on the fields of biology, computer science and mathematics. Briefly put, it is the use of computers to model nature, and simultaneously the study of nature to improve the usage of computers. Biologically-inspired computing is a major subset of natural computation.
One way in which bio-inspired computing differs from artificial intelligence (AI) is in how it takes a more evolutionary approach to learning, as opposed to the what could be described as creationist methods used in traditional AI. In traditional AI, intelligence is often programmed from above: the programmer is the creator, and makes something and imbues it with its intelligence. Bio-inspired computing, on the other hand, takes a more bottom-up, decentralised approach; bio-inspired techniques often involve the method of specifying a set of simple rules, a set of simple organisms which adhere to those rules, and a method of iteratively applying those rules. After several generations of rule application it is usually the case that some forms of complex behaviour arise.