24 September

Swarms II: The Environment


The environment is a common space where the “swarm” evolves through interactions among it’s members. The environment allows to share the ”’same reality”’ for all of them, that is, when a member modifies the ”reality” in some way, the others see the same facts.

This sentence may seem obvious baring in mind certain examples from nature such as bees or ant colonies, but it definitely makes more sense in computer simulations where nature can’t help us and so we must ensure that our artificial environments provide the same unity: an ant,  for instance, takes a ”larva” from the ground and it’s no longer available for a another ant with the same intention.

The environment must provide the foundations for communication among swarm members, for instance, the termites use some pheromones that attach to the environment while at the same time an evaporation process slowly removes them. The concentration of these pheromones guides other termites to stack the material for the pillars that continue to grow, while gradually the pillar’s ends approach each other, forming a closed “arc”.

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24 September

Swarms I: Features of a Swarm


I started the blog using some examples that occurs in nature as usual. These examples give us an impression of the share something, even some of them live in oceans, under terrain or even fly.

This matter is the main goal of a series of posts that I want to start now, beginning with a brief description of the most relevant features that has been taken from nature examples, which I pretend to give an wider and general vision, and ending with how human beings has been able to design systems based on ”swarm”’s technics.

Having a first look to them we can notice that they have in common:

1. An environment within their members evolve and communicate each to other.
2. A set of behavior rules followed by all their members, or more accurately, the members with the same role.
3. That in decision making, randomness has an important part.
4. They are formed by a huge number of members.

At the end of this series will leave a document compilation available to everyone.

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15 July

Why are Swarms interesting?

safari ant tunnel

In the last few years, a new approach in computer science has gained relevance: software engineers have turned their minds to the “social” behavior that some insects show in their everyday tasks.

For thousand of years, social insects have solved similar problems to those that affect us nowadays, with a surprising flexibility and simplicity because they are “simple” beings that acts like robots, following some basic rules.

These simple beings can solve problems like finding the shorter path between two points, vaults building, create corridors for safe transport, task assignation issues, etc, without needing a central supervisor or coordinator. Continue reading

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4 July

A Swarm definition

Before we delve further into this fascinating world, I think it is useful to define what a ”swarm” is, since probably each one of us will have a slightly different definition.

Maybe it will be useful to consider the main features of a swarm. From my point of view, a swarm must accomplish:

  • be formed by a huge number of members or entities.
  • have a communication method with closest neighbors.
  • have similar rules of behavior.
  • Some members must interact with the external environment for stimulus reception. Continue reading
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4 July

Welcome to Swarm methods

Welcome to Swarm methods!, a blog for sharing and learning about how swarms works, and how technology has been gradually assimilated some of its unique characteristics.

Probably what comes to mind when we think of “swarms” is a colony of flying bees, or perhaps different kind of insects, as termites or ants, working hard in their tasks. Some others might think about a flocks of birds, moving in a sort of coordinated flight. Continue reading

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