Ant-Based Modeling: Agent-Based City Simulation with Ants

May 6, 2017


Ho, P. H., Smuts, C., Kayser, M. A., Hernandez, J. 2017. Ant-Based Modeling: Agent-Based City Simulation with Ants. In Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ‘17).


Ant-Based Modeling is exploring the possibility of implementing agent-based modeling in city simulation by studying the interplay between living ants and its responsive stimuli such as electromagnetic spectrums, magnetic fields, and electric fields. In an experiment, we discovered that ultraviolet and infrared lights could affect ants, polarizing their movements in the form of attraction and dispersion. After more in-depth research, we were surprised to see how different ranges of electromagnetic spectrums could have such different effects on different species or the same species from different colonies, which has inspired us to use ants as agents for modeling events in the city. In this video, we demonstrate how a swarm of ants could be trained to achieve a certain task collectively such as exploring a new area and dragging a ball to a destination. These experiments have driven us to learn from ants and explore the design of human-ant interactions. 

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