National Geographic has a brief article about some interesting research at the University of Sussex. The authors of this paper (irritatingly, behind a paywall and my University doesn’t have a subscription) suggest that swarm behavior may be disproportionately influenced by its most weakest, hungriest, or otherwise most desperate individuals.
This does suggest some interesting approaches for controlling (or subverting!) self-organizing systems. I’m reminded of a paper I read recently by Franco Zambonelli, “Self-Management and the Many Facets of “Non-Self“, which suggests controlling swarm-inspired computing systems by introducing a (relatively smaller) number of manager agents that, by their actions, guide the overall collective behavior.
Photo Credit: CC-licensed image of a grackle swarm by Adam Baker