Swarm Intelligence

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 113–138 | Cite as

Revisiting wavefront construction with collective agents: an approach to foraging

  • Olivier SimoninEmail author
  • François Charpillet
  • Eric Thierry


We consider the problem of coordinating a team of agents that have to collect disseminated resources in an unknown environment. We are interested in approaches in which agents collectively explore the environment and build paths between home and resources. The originality of our approach is to simultaneously build an artificial potential field (APF) around the agents’ home while foraging. We propose a multi-agent model defining a distributed and asynchronous version of Barraquand et al. Wavefront algorithm. Agents need only to mark and read integers locally on a grid, that is, their environment. We prove that the construction converges to the optimal APF. This allows the definition of a complete parameter-free foraging algorithm, called c-marking agents. The algorithm is evaluated by simulation, while varying the foraging settings. Then we compare our approach to a pheromone-based algorithm. Finally, we discuss requirements for implementation in robotics.


Swarm algorithm Foraging task Artificial potential field Ant algorithms 



The authors wish to thank the editors and referees for their work in order to improve the analysis and the presentation of the results. We would also like to thank Olivier Buffet and Bruno Scherrer for their help in writing the paper, Anna Crowley and Julien Ponge for the English proofreading.

Supplementary material

Supplementary material 1 (mpg 3344 KB)

Supplementary material 2 (mpg 442 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Olivier Simonin
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • François Charpillet
    • 2
  • Eric Thierry
    • 3
  1. 1.INSA Lyon, CITI-Inria Lab.VilleurbanneFrance
  2. 2.Inria Nancy Grand Est, LORIA Lab., Maia teamNancyFrance
  3. 3.ENS LyonLyonFrance

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