Complex flocking dynamics without global stimulus

Conference Date
Lyon, France
Date Published
September 2017
Conference Date: 2017, Vol. 14, Pages 513-520.
(doi: 10.7551/ecal_a_083)
© 2017 Massachusetts Institute of Technology Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license
Article PDF (1.4 MB)

Murmuration, is one of the most impressive kind of bird flocking. It is now well accepted that this collective behavior emerges from individual ones and that no global control is involved. Every starling has a equivalent status in the flock and there is no leader deciding how the murmuration evolves. Considering this phenomenon, Reynolds’s individual-based rules have been investigated and implemented a number of times to create compelling computer-animated models of the aerial movement of swarm-like flocks of starlings. Still, it turns out that implementing Reynolds’s is not sufficient per se in the sense that all murmuration simulations use tricks to achieve a realistic animation of this phenomenon. Especially, virtual leaders or point of interest are used to orientate the starlings, which somehow contradicts the no-global-control perspective, and thus suggests that murmuration dynamics is not yet fully grasped. This paper first highlight this aspect of existing murmuration simulations and then show that it is possible to obtain murmuration-like dynamics by only rethinking how Reynolds’s are usually implemented. Especially, the proposed model does not require the existence of a virtual leader nor embed any global aspect. The objective of this article is to show that is possible to perform realistic starlings murmuration simulations without using global stimulus thanks to he IRM4S modeling perspective (an Influence Reaction Model for Simulation). So, in this article, we will first focus on the existing implementations of this flocking model to list the advantages and limits and then propose our solution based on the IRM4S approach.