Introduction For the semester project you will be designing a simulation of an ant colony.

computer science


Introduction For the semester project you will be designing a simulation of an ant colony. Ant colonies are interesting for a variety of reasons, but one of the most interesting features of an ant colony is that it demonstrates a property known as emergence. Ant colonies are composed of thousands of individuals that carry out their assigned tasks. The combined individual behaviors of all the ants bring about the emergence of a selforganized system: the colony itself. Each ant only lives for about one year, except for the queen, which can live for 20 years or more. The colony can survive as long as the queen still lives, meaning the colony can also survive for 20 years or more. Since the individual ants only live for about a year, the colony isn't able to benefit from the wisdom of old "wise" ants. The colony lives simply because each individual ant does what it has been programmed to do. A well-ordered ant society emerges from the synergistic actions of the individuals. The colony you create will consist of a queen and her brood, which will have workers to gather food and scout the terrain surrounding the colony, and soldiers to protect the colony from enemies. The colony will start off with only the queen and a few workers and soldiers. Over time the colony will expand to function like a real ant colony, to a limited extent. Since you will be building a simulation, how your colony behaves will depend on how certain parameters have been set. The purpose of a simulation is to mimic reality as closely as possible, but in many cases there may not be enough facts on hand to build an accurate simulation. In such cases, it is beneficial to build the simulation in a way that allows the various parameters to be changed easily. I will be providing you with values for as many parameters as I can, but many aspects of the simulation involve the use of random numbers. Therefore, the precise end result is indeterminate. When I grade your project I won't be looking for a single, correct end result; instead I will be looking to see that the various components (i.e., the various ants) do their jobs correctly. If you are able to program your ants to do what they are supposed to do as individuals, your colony should emerge from their collective efforts. A. The Environment 1. The ants' environment should be represented using a 27 x 27 square grid. 2. Each square in the grid represents a discrete location in the environment. 3. Eight directions of movement are possible (see diagram below).

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