Friday, April 30, 2010

First demonstration video

This is a first version of our project . Each ant have a very simple behavior that is the mix between folowing pheromones, folowing a goal, go randomly and come back when they are hungry. And a colony behavior emmerge from this letting them haverest the cloest food points quickly find new food when one is empty.

The yellow circles represents the anthill, the red dots the food points and light orange dots the pheromones that they leave on their way.

The next steps will be to manage the production of ants in the anthill then create competition with other anthills. After that we will differentiate the production of workers and soldiers, and try to make the soldiers production automatically increased in a competitive environment.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


We discovered an other project that aims to simulate ants behaviors, which is called Myrmedrome. It is based on some behaviors like pheromones of courses, but also trophalaxis, it differentiates soldiers and workers, and also allows to put insect preys on the map, and to wreck havoc within ants with a finger.
But it is not related to scientific papers like our project will, ours also aims for computer science applications (at least from far away). And in our simulator, ants move freely around the map (and outside), while in Myrmedrome, they follow a tile-based map.
It also appears that the ants in Myrmedrome are not likely to improve path to food by themselves, and will rather follow the first defined path, even not optimal.

So it gives us an aim : to make our project better than this one !

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Starting implementation

We started on previous week the implementation of the program, using the XNA framework with C#. It is going pretty well, and we based ourselves on a generic architecture that makes the code easily adaptable, and has proven its efficiency on other projects, so we came pretty quickly to something working.
This means that now that we have the basics working, we will start to do some tests, and implement the more tricky and less known behaviors. Our starting point might be to differentiate soldiers and workers, and implement the behavior of the queen.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Orientation of the project

Ants are widely used in algorithms to resolve complicated problems via many iteration of a simple behavior, there is even a conference held every year an this subject, this year's is the seventh :
Based on this, we can hope that the field is pretty much covered by specialists, and there is not so much left for us poor students.
But if we leave algorithms for just a moment and look at real ants, we see that the "ant behavior" used in algorithms is not very close to reality, and the ants are much more interesting than just wandering around and putting some pheromones behind them. So it could be very interesting to try simulating a behavior closer to how real ants act, from the biological and emergence point of view : how single beings without superior authority achieve great things like ants colonies ?
And what if the model that emerges from our work allows some applications in algorithm then ? This totally not impossible, and maybe we won't fall to far away from our first concern : algorithms.

So it seems that we will be working on real ants behavior rather than looking in the well studied field of basic ants algorithms.

for this we will have to read/listen/watch some things about ants. It seems that the book called "The Ants", by Bert Hölldobler and Edward O. Wilson is (was) a reference on this topic in 1990, so it could be interresting to look at it, some parts are available on google books :

and I also found a more recent one, in French, referring to "The Ants" as its inspiration, and willing to gather knowledge about ants adding research issues since 1990. I red the first chapter, which is interesting and with a lot of references :