Boids a-Flockin’
November 29th, 2002

Eamonn Fitzgerald recently blogged one of those connections that can jump out at you when you’re reading two or more books at the same time ñ this one connecting Howard Rheingold’s Smart Mobs with Michael Crichton’s new novel, Prey — the link in this case being the use of “flocking” in both books. Both “flocking” and “swarming” are fascinating topics with a lot to teach us about how seemingly complex behaviors can come out of simple rulesets. For an overview of the area, Steven Johnson’s Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software , is hard to beat, but it is visual illustration that makes the point come alive ñ from the urban traffic scenes in Koyannisqatsi to Craig Reynolds’ marvellous online flocking Boids.

Thanks, Eamonn

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