The Dynamical Complexity of Swarms, Flocks and Shoals
This project was done during my Masters under the supervision of Murray Shanahan, again I have to thank him for letting me work on this very interesting project. The purpose of this study was to observe the correlation between the natural flocking behaviour exhibited by birds and the measured dynamical complexity. Where dynamical complexity is a measure of the integrated and segregated activity of a system. If a system is overly segregated or integrated then it demonstrates a low dynamical complexity. A high dynamical complexity is achieved when the system is able to balance both integrated and segregated activity. This project involved developing a flocking model, measuring the behaviour of different birds in a meaningful way such that the resulting data uniquely identifies how the measured birds behaved and then analysing the causal density of the resulting data. The model that was developed was an extended version of the original Boids Algorithm . This extended model compensated for some of the limitations in the boids version. It also allowed for a more direct realt time control over the bird's behaviour. The analysis itself was done by using Granger-causality to determine which birds held the most influence over the behaviour of the flock. From this it was then possible to measure the causal density of the behaviour which reflected the dynamical complexity. A small video of the resulting simulation environment which was developed in shown below:
Technical Overview: The model was developed in Java with a Processing 3d front end in order to visually observe the behaviour. The analysis of the resulting data was performed with the aid of the MATLAB GCCA toolbox developed by Anil Seth. Downloads: If you would like to use the model from this project or read the documentation the of this project then please send me an email stating as to why you would like to use this project.