Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Swarm intelligence: New collective properties of swarm dynamics uncovered

Date:
March 15, 2013
Source:
Springer Science+Business Media
Summary:
A new study of animal swarms uncovers some new features of their collective behavior when overcrowding sets in. Swarming is the spontaneous organized motion of a large number of individuals. It is observed at all scales, from bacterial colonies, slime molds and groups of insects to shoals of fish, flocks of birds and animal herds. Now physicists have uncovered new collective properties of swarm dynamics.

School of sardines.
Credit: Richard Carey / Fotolia

A new study of animal swarms uncovers some new features of their collective behaviour when overcrowding sets in.

Swarming is the spontaneous organised motion of a large number of individuals. It is observed at all scales, from bacterial colonies, slime moulds and groups of insects to shoals of fish, flocks of birds and animal herds. Now physicists Maksym Romenskyy and Vladimir Lobaskin from University College Dublin, Ireland, have uncovered new collective properties of swarm dynamics in a study just published in EPJ B. Ultimately, this could be used to control swarms of animals, robots, or human crowds by applying signals capable of emulating the underlying interaction of individuals within the swarm, which could lead to predicted motion patterns elucidated through modelling.

The authors were inspired by condensed matter models, used for example in the study of magnetism, which were subsequently adapted to be biologically relevant to animal swarms. In their model, in addition to the ability to align with its neighbours, each model animal is endowed with two new features: one for collision avoidance and another preventing direction change at every step to ensure persistence of motion. The team performed computer simulations of up to 100,000 self-propelled particles, each mimicking an individual animal and moving at a constant speed on a plane surface.

They found that when the swarm becomes overcrowded, the globally ordered motion breaks down. At high density and when the nearest neighbours are within one step of each other, each animal can no longer decide on the safe direction of motion. Instead, it is busy correcting its motion to avoid collisions.

They also described, for the first time, a power law that quantifies the average degree of alignment in the direction of motion for animals within the swarm. The law describes how the alignment decays from the centre of the swarm, where animals can best judge the swarm motion due to their maximum number of neighbours, to the periphery.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Springer Science+Business Media. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Maksym Romenskyy, Vladimir Lobaskin. Statistical properties of swarms of self-propelled particles with repulsions across the order-disorder transition. The European Physical Journal B, 2013; 86 (3) DOI: 10.1140/epjb/e2013-30821-1

Cite This Page:

Springer Science+Business Media. "Swarm intelligence: New collective properties of swarm dynamics uncovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130315095921.htm>.
Springer Science+Business Media. (2013, March 15). Swarm intelligence: New collective properties of swarm dynamics uncovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130315095921.htm
Springer Science+Business Media. "Swarm intelligence: New collective properties of swarm dynamics uncovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130315095921.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins