Expert Assessment of Stigmergy – A Report for the Department of National Defence

Évaluation Experte en Stigmergie – Rapport à l'Intention du Ministère de la Défense Nationale


  1. White, T.
Corporate Authors
Defence Research and Development Canada, Ottawa Ont (CAN);Carleton Univ, Ottawa ONT (CAN) School of Computer Science
This report describes the current state of research in the area known as Swarm Intelligence. Swarm Intelligence relies upon stigmergic principles in order to solve complex problems using only simple agents. Swarm Intelligence has been receiving increasing attention over the last 10 years as a result of the acknowledgement of the success of social insect systems in solving complex problems without the need for central control or global information. In swarmbased problem solving, a solution emerges as a result of the collective action of the members of the swarm, often using principles of communication known as stigmergy. The individual behaviours of swarm members do not indicate the nature of the emergent collective behaviour and the solution process is generally very robust to the loss of individual swarm members. This report describes the general principles for swarm-based problem solving, the way in which stigmergy is employed, and presents a number of high level algorithms that have proven utility in solving hard optimization and control problems. Useful tools for the modelling and investigation of swarm-based systems are then briefly described. Applications in the areas of combinatorial optimization, distributed manufacturing, collective robotics, and routing in networks (including mobile ad hoc networks) are then reviewed. Military and security applications are then described, specifically highlighting the groups that have been or continue to be active in swarm research.
stigmergy;swarming;swarm intelligence
Report Number
DRDC-CR-2005-004 — Contractor Report
Date of publication
01 Oct 2005
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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