Cognitive Computation

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 320-331

First online:

Creativity and Autonomy in Swarm Intelligence Systems

  • Mohammad Majid al-RifaieAffiliated withDepartment of Computing, Goldsmiths, University of London Email author 
  • , John Mark BishopAffiliated withDepartment of Computing, Goldsmiths, University of London
  • , Suzanne CainesAffiliated withDepartment of Art, Goldsmiths, University of London

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This work introduces two swarm intelligence algorithms—one mimicking the behaviour of one species of ants (Leptothorax acervorum) foraging (a ‘stochastic diffusion search’, SDS) and the other algorithm mimicking the behaviour of birds flocking (a ‘particle swarm optimiser’, PSO)—and outlines a novel integration strategy exploiting the local search properties of the PSO with global SDS behaviour. The resulting hybrid algorithm is used to sketch novel drawings of an input image, exploiting an artistic tension between the local behaviour of the ‘birds flocking’—as they seek to follow the input sketch—and the global behaviour of the ‘ants foraging’—as they seek to encourage the flock to explore novel regions of the canvas. The paper concludes by exploring the putatve ‘creativity’ of this hybrid swarm system in the philosophical light of the ‘rhizome’ and Deleauze’s well-known ‘Orchid and Wasp’ metaphor.


PSO SDS Autonomy Swarm intelligence Computational creativity