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Artificial Life

Spring 1995, Vol. 2, No. 3, Pages 319-332
(doi: 10.1162/artl.1995.2.3.319)
© 1996 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
A Self-Organizing Spatial Vocabulary
Article PDF (1.16 MB)

Language is a shared set of conventions for mapping meanings to utterances. This paper explores self-organization as the primary mechanism for the formation of a vocabulary. It reports on a computational experiment in which a group of distributed agents develop ways to identify each other using names or spatial descriptions. It is also shown that the proposed mechanism copes with the acquisition of an existing vocabulary by new agents entering the community and with an expansion of the set of meanings.