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Swarm IntelligenceFrom Natural to Artificial Systems$
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Eric Bonabeau, Marco Dorigo, and Guy Theraulaz

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780195131581

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195131581.001.0001

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Cemetery Organization, Brood Sorting, Data Analysis, and Graph Partitioning

Cemetery Organization, Brood Sorting, Data Analysis, and Graph Partitioning

(p.149) Chapter 4 Cemetery Organization, Brood Sorting, Data Analysis, and Graph Partitioning
Swarm Intelligence

Eric Bonabeau

Marco Dorigo

Guy Theraulaz

Oxford University Press

In the previous two chapters, foraging and division of labor were shown to be useful metaphors to design optimization and resource allocation algrithms. In this chapter, we will see that the clustering and sorting behavior of ants has stimulated researchers to design new algorithms for data analysis and graph partitioning. Several species of ants cluster corpses to form a “cemetery,” or sort their larvae into several piles. This behavior is still not fully understood, but a simple model, in which agents move randomly in space and pick up and deposit items on the basis of local information, may account for some of the characteristic features of clustering and sorting in ants. The model can also be applied to data analysis and graph partitioning: objects with different attributes or the nodes of a graph can be considered items to be sorted. Objects placed next to each other by the sorting algorithm have similar attributes, and nodes placed next each other by the sorting algorithm are tightly connected in the graph. The sorting algorithm takes place in a two-dimensional space, thereby offering a low-dimensional representation of the objects or of the graph. Distributed clustering, and more recently sorting, by a swarm of robots have served as benchmarks for swarm-based robotics. In all cases, the robots exhibit extremely simple behavior, act on the basis of purely local information, and communicate indirectly except for collision avoidance. In several species of ants, workers have been reported to form piles of corpses— literally cemeteries—to clean up their nests. Chretien [72] has performed experiments with the ant Lasius niger to study the organization of cemeteries. Other experiments on the ant Pheidole pallidula are also reported in Deneubourg et al. [88], and many species actually organize a cemetery. Figure 4.1 shows the dynamics of cemetery organization in another ant, Messor sancta. If corpses, or, more precisely, sufficiently large parts of corposes are randomly distributed in space at the beginning of the experiment, the workers form cemetery clusters within a few hours.

Keywords:   Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Lasius niger, clustering, distributed clustering, graph partitioning, hierarchical algorithms, larval sorting model, partitioning algorithms, ratio cut partitioning problem, sorting algorithm

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