Ant Colony Activity

  • Richard J. Gaylord
  • Kazume Nishidate


While an individual ant is considered by many people to have no significance (hence the phrase “crush like an ant”), the complex behavior of a “society” of ants is rather fascinating (the so-called ant farm has long been popular among scientifically inclined young people). Various studies (Goodwin, 1994, Gordon, 1995) have shown that an individual ant cannot be trained to perform even the simplest of tasks and that groups of ants have no hierarchical order or chain of command by which one ant directs the action of another ant. In the absence of native intelligence and social control, the question is how does the collective behavior carried out in a colony of ants emerge from the activity of the individual ants in the colony? It has been suggested (Goodwin, 1994, Gordon, 1995) that local interactions between ants, of the sort found in a cellular automaton, suffice to produce the observed organizational features of an ant colony. We will develop a CA that models the activity level of an ant colony over time as a function of the size of the colony.


Cellular Automaton Adjacent Site Empty Site Native Intelligence Nest Maintenance 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard J. Gaylord
    • 1
  • Kazume Nishidate
    • 2
  1. 1.Dept. of Materials ScienceUniversity of IllinoisUrbana-Champaign, UrbanaUSA
  2. 2.Dept. of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Faculty of EngineeringIwate UniversityMorioka 020Japan

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