Expert Assessment of Human-Human Stigmergy

Évaluation Experte de la Stigmergie entre Humains


  1. Van Dyke Parunak, H.
Corporate Authors
Defence Research and Development Canada, Ottawa Ont (CAN);Altarum Institute, Ann Arbor Michigan (USA)
Human-Human Stigmergy is pervasive. A wide range of pre-computer social systems fit the pattern of stigmergic coordination, and have provided a rich set of metaphors on which a diverse set of computer-enabled systems for enabling human stigmergy have been constructed. It would be more difficult to show a functioning human institution that is not stigmergic, than it is to find examples of human stigmergy. The reason that human-human stigmergy is so common can be understood from the growing body of experience in constructing large-scale distributed computing systems with resource-constrained elements. It has become clear that central control of such systems is not feasible, since resource-constrained components cannot cope with the large-scale, distributed aspects of such systems. The central insight of stigmergy is that coordination can be achieved by resource-constrained agents interacting locally in an environment. Two fundamental principles govern the success of this strategy: 1. No matter how large the environment grows, because agents interact only locally, their limited processing capabilities are not overwhelmed; and 2. Through the dynamics of self-organization, local interactions can yield a coherent system-level outcome that provides the required control. The essence of stigmergy is the coordination of bounded agents embedded in a (potentially unbounded) environment, whose state they both sense (to guide their actions) and modify (as a result of their actions). The ab
stigmergy;stimergic systems
Report Number
DRDC-CR-2005-003 — Contractor Report
Date of publication
01 Oct 2005
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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