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Artificial Life

Spring 2019, Vol. 25, No. 2, Pages 178-197
(doi: 10.1162/artl_a_00288)
© 2019 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
How to Make Swarms Open-Ended? Evolving Collective Intelligence Through a Constricted Exploration of Adjacent Possibles
Article PDF (4.12 MB)
We propose an approach to open-ended evolution via the simulation of swarm dynamics. In nature, swarms possess remarkable properties, which allow many organisms, from swarming bacteria to ants and flocking birds, to form higher-order structures that enhance their behavior as a group. Swarm simulations highlight three important factors to create novelty and diversity: (a) communication generates combinatorial cooperative dynamics, (b) concurrency allows for separation of time scales, and (c) complexity and size increases push the system towards transitions in innovation. We illustrate these three components in a model computing the continuous evolution of a swarm of agents. The results, divided into three distinct applications, show how emergent structures are capable of filtering information through the bottleneck of their memory, to produce meaningful novelty and diversity within their simulated environment.