Friday, August 24, 2012

Swarm Intelligence: Craig Reynold's Boids


THE FLOCKING BEHAVIOR OF BIRDS, FISH, INSECTS AND EVEN HUMANS. CGA (computer graphics animation) of how flocks of birds, fish, or humans in a crowd move are very realistic. But they follow simple rules discovered by Craig Reynolds in 1986 in a simulation of digital creatures he called Boids. In the 1992 film Batman Returns the swarms of computer- modeled bats and penguins used this algorithm. Crowds of people behave in the same way if you observe them going leaving the MRT, or shoving to get ahead  towards some object. The simple rules of 'flocking' from which emerge the the fascinating patterns of swarms are (1) keep a certain average distance between your nearest flockmates (avoid collision) (2) Move towards the average position (center) of the flock/school/crowd (3) Move in the average direction of the flock/school/crowd. The next time you are in a crowd see if you have unconsciously followed these rules. Flocking is a stable phenomenon but if just one of the flock breaks the rules and causes others to follow, then the flocking breaks down e.g. a stampede when crowds get out of control. Sometimes it may not be useful to have a flock, so e.g. at the MRT, dividers and directional arrows signs are used to modify the natural flocking instinct. Have a look at this YouTube video by Gilliame De Carpenter

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