SWARM ANIMATION EXPERIMENTS

The links on this page connect to a Java implemented viewer that animates swarm experiments.  The code loads data from the server and then clicking on the "PLAY" button runs the animation.  If no "PLAY" button is visible after the page loads, scroll down until it appears.  To replay the animation, go "BACK" a page and follow the link again.

Timing synchronization

These experiments mimic the synchronization behavior of certain types of fireflies.  The agents all follow a fixed-length cycle before "flashing".  Starting at random points, they are affected by the flashing of other fireflies.  If an agent is close to flashing and it witnesses a flash by another agent, it will speed up its cycle to match its neighbor.  All the agents continually modify their behavior until the entire swarm eventually synchronizes.  This technique can be used to initiate simultaneous actions across all members of the swarm.

Timing Synchronization Experiment #1
Stationary dots are firefly agents, and the darker, circular region that appears around the agent is their flash radius.  Agents outside a particular flash radius are not affected by that flash. Note that the agents in the upper lefthand corner cannot directly interract with the agents in the lower righthand corner, yet their flash times propagate from one to the other through intermediate agents.

Timing Synchronization Experiment #2
Timing experiment two demonstrates the same behavior and effects as the first experiment. In this version, the agents move randomly during the synchronization phase. Thus the agents within other agents' flash radii are constantly changing. The movement has no effect on the ability of the swarm to synchronize.

Timing Synchronization Experiment #3
This version of the experiment has four leader agents that act as metronomes for the rest of the swarm. The leaders move and flash in a different color than the followers. Whenever a follower sees a leader's flash, they immediately alter their cycle to match the leader. Note that the leaders do not start out synchronized, when a leader witnesses another leader's flash, they also adjust their cycles to match the other leader. As the leaders move about the swarm, if they see a follower flash, they freeze. The leader does not resume movement until after flashing. This behavior insures that the follower who flashed off-cycle will be given the proper pattern.

Timing Synchronization Experiment #4
This animation demonstrates the pseudo-stable, non-synchronizing behavior of the firefly algorithm. The version uses the non-mobile, uniform algorithm and shows how even with 400, densely-packed agents, synchronization may not be acheived.
 

Tumor Killing Experiment
This animation is based on work done by Anthony Lewis and George Bekey.  In their paper "The Behavioral Self-Organization of Nanorobots Using Local Rules" which appeared in the Proceedings of IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems 1992, they proposed nanorobot agents that could be injected into a living creature to locate and destroy a cancerous tumor.  The phyical realization of this technology is still years off, but their paper addressed some of the issues of controlling a swarm of these robots.  We have used SWEEP to implement their approach and examine other algorithmic approaches.  In particular, we have run this scenario using indifferent, uniform and agent-critical algorithms and compared the results.
Tumor Killing Experiment #1
Timing experiment two demonstrates the same behavior and effects as the first experiment. In this version, the agents move randomly during the synchronization phase. Thus the agents within other agents' flash radii are constantly changing. The movement has no effect on the ability of the swarm to synchronize.

Two-Island Experiment Infinite loop
This version of the experiment demonstrates how an infinte loop in the path can occur. Shortly after the animation begins, two groups of agents are wandering around the first island (area on the right) they are grouping together as the attempt to find the bridge. One of the groups gets caught in an inifinte loop and circles endlessly near the center of the island (they appear not to be moving).