Swarm

Collected by Brad Cox in anticipation of using Swarm as the basis of a course, Computational Modeling of Social Systems (LRNG792). Since I resigned from GMU, I'm no longer maintaining this page..

Also see Echo for another evolutionary simulator that might be used in this course.

Note from Kevin Drennan 12/15/99: Chris Langton is no loger at SFI but has started www.swarm.org. Nelson Minar is no longer here as well. If I remember, he went back to school for his doctorate. Swarm code is still being developed at SFI. Probably best to write Alex Lancaster here at SFI for precise information (alex@santafe.edu) about the division between SFI work on Swarm and swarm.org work.


The Swarm Simulation System A tool for studying complex systems is being developed by Chris Langton, Nelson Minar, Roger Burkhart of the Santa Fe Institute.

Swarm is a general purpose software platform for the study of complex adaptive systems. In the Swarm system the basic unit of simulation is the ``swarm,'' a collection of agents executing a schedule of events. Swarm accommodates multi-level modeling approaches in which agents can be composed of swarms of other agents in nested hierarchies. Swarm schedules support hierarchies of time management yielding a natural model of concurrency and a straightforward path to parallel implementation. Swarm is currently under development; an alpha version is expected in early 1995, a beta version in the summer of '95, and a full, public domain release in the fall of '95.

Santa Fe Institute
The Santa Fe Institute is a private, independent, multidisciplinary research and education center, founded in 1984. Since its founding SFI has devoted itself to creating a new kind of scientific research community, pursuing emerging syntheses in science. Operating as a small, visiting institution, SFI seeks to catalyze new collaborative, multidisciplinary research, to break down the barriers between the traditional disciplines, to spread its ideas and methodologies to other institutions, and to encourage the practical appliations of its results.
The Swarm Multi-Agent Simulation System (no valid link is available) by Roger Burkhart
Swarm is a general-purpose package for simulating concurrent, distributed artificial worlds. It is being developed by the artificial life group at the Santa Fe Institute to provide a general architecture for problems that arise in a wide variety of disciplines ranging from physics to biology to economics. Many of these problems possess a common structure that consists of large numbers of autonomous agents interacting in the context of some environment. Computer simulation is an essential tool to study the global and adaptive behavior that can emerge in such complex systems.
Swarm Web Pages Newer version than the one below
Swarm is a software package for complex systems being developed at The Santa Fe Institute. Swarm is intended to be a useful tool for researchers in a variety of disciplines, especially artificial life. The basic architecture of Swarm is the simulation of collections of concurrently interacting agents: with this architecture, we can implement a large variety of agent based models. Our initial target is Unix machines running GNU Objective C and X windows: the source code will be freely available. Swarm is currently in development and alpha testing: we have sample simulations and have begun to give code to selected researchers. The current plan is to generally release a beta version on June 1 (in time for ECAL), and have the official 1.0 release at the end of the summer. We are not giving out copies of the old Swarm prototype or alpha versions to the general public: the June 1 beta will be the first public release. If you are interested in keeping up with progress on Swarm, check back on this Web page or subscribe to our mailing lists.
Swarm by Santa Fe Institute (no valid link is available)
The primary goal of the Swarm simulation system is to save researchers from having to deal with all of the computer science issues involved in the implementation of concurrent, distributed artificial worlds. Swarm provides a wide spectrum of ``generic'' artificial worlds populated with ``generic'' agents, a large library of design and analysis tools, and a kernel to drive the simulation. These artificial worlds can vary greatly in their properties, from 2-D spatial worlds in which agents move about to graphs representing telecommunication networks through which static agents trade messages and commodities. Whatever the specific ``physical'' characteristics of the universe of discourse, Swarm provides a general, uniform framework allowing researchers to concentrate on their specific system of interest, to directly compare scientific results with other users of Swarm, and to eliminate wasteful duplication of basic simulation functions from model to model.
Artificial-Life Simulators and Their Applications Howard Gutowitz; Santa Fe Institute
Artificial Life (Alife) is a rapidly growing field of scientific research linking biology and computer science. It seeks to understand how life-like processes can be embodied in computer programs. Advances in this area promise to illuminate fundamental questions both in biology ("What is life?") and in Computer Science ("How to make robust and adaptable computer programs?"). Much of the work in artificial life is directed toward building computer simulations of artificial creatures and the artificial worlds in which they live. This report surveys major efforts in this area, with attention to developments likely to lead to practical applications in the short to middle term. This document is intended to be at once a critical introduction to the field and a resource guide for those who wish to explore further. postscript and ascii versions of this doc
A Radically Bottom-Up Approach: Tierra
Tierra is the most advanced platform for the study of the evolution of artificial organisms at the level of the genome. It was developed by Tom Ray of the University of Delaware and the ATR Human Information Processing Research Laboratories in Kyoto ( see Sec 6.2). Tierra aims to provide an environment in which darwinian evolution can proceed within a computer, without explicit direction or intervention from a human operator.
Ants as a Model Organism: MANTA
Ants are to artificial life as Drosophilia are to genetics. Each is a model organisms which serve its respective disciples as a universal test-beds for theories and methods. There are thus many examples of Alife simulators devoted more or less exclusively to the modeling of the behavior of ant colonies. Ants occupy a central place in artificial life due to their relative individual simplicity combined with their relatively complex group behavior. Ant colonies have evolved means of performing collective tasks which are far beyond the capacities of their constituent components. They do so without being wired together in any specific architectural pattern, without central control, and in the presence of strong intrinsic noise. Ants can create architectural structures dynamically when and where they are needed, such as trails between nest and food sources, or "living bridges" when swarms of ants migrate in the rain-forest. For further information on the biology of ants, see the landmark book [HW90].
Artificial Biophysics: LEE
The Latent Energy Environments (LEE) package of Fillipo Menzcer and Rik Belew of the University of California, San Diego, combines several of the themes developed above: neural networks, genetic algorithms, and autonomous agents. Further, it continues in the direction charted by MANTA: to connect the physics of an artificial environment to the behavior of the artificial organisms which live within this environment.
A General-Purpose Simulator: Swarm
  The Santa Fe Institute's Swarm project is aimed at the development of a fully general-purpose artificial-life simulator. The primary goal of the Swarm simulation system is to save researchers from having to deal with all of the computer science issues involved in the implementation of concurrent, distributed artificial worlds. Swarm provides a wide spectrum of ``generic'' artificial worlds populated with ``generic'' agents, a large library of design and analysis tools, and a kernel to drive the simulation. These artificial worlds can vary greatly in their properties, from 2-D spatial worlds in which agents move about to graphs representing telecommunication networks through which static agents trade messages and commodities. Whatever the specific ``physical'' characteristics of the universe of discourse, Swarm provides a general, uniform framework allowing researchers to concentrate on their specific system of interest, to directly compare scientific results with other users of Swarm, and to eliminate wasteful duplication of basic simulation functions from model to model.


Modification date: March 07, 2004 © Copyright 2004 by Brad Cox
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