Ever wonder how birds flock? How crystals form?
How ants forage for food? How trends in fashion change? All these are
examples of group behavior resulting from the collective interactions
between many self-directed individuals, or "agents". One fascinating
aspect of phenomenon such as these is that very complex system behaviors
and patterns can emerge from agents interacting with one another according
to a relatively simple set of rules - often unaware of the
consequences of their actions in the "big picture" scheme of
of decentralized multi-agent systems and their emergent behaviors
spans a wide range of different fields including molecular biology,
thermodynamics, ethology (animal behavior), social and political
science, economics, art, computer science, and education, to name
a handful. Because of the increasing awareness of the importance
and impact these systems have on shaping the world around us,
there is a rapidly growing body of research that focuses on how
computers in order to better understand them.
This website and software project grew out of a family interest
to explore the subject of multi-agent systems and emergent behavior.
agent-based simulator, called VisualBots, that
allows the design of virtual worlds consisting of many programmable
that can interact with one another in various ways. These worlds
can be observed while their often surprising emergent characteristics
evolve through time. View our projects page
on this website to see how we have applied VisualBots to
explore examples of emergent behavior.
A fractal tree drawn
using thousands of self-directed "robo-artists".
See our Projects
for more info.
The VisualBots simulator is
a programmable ActiveX Control for Microsoft Excel. The control exposes
a powerful set of VisualBots objects, methods, and properties that are
Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications that comes installed with Excel.
For more info,
see our software page on this website, and
feel free to download the
VisualBots simulator to try it yourself.