Swarming bahaviour: Dance and Mathematics

Starlings swarming over the west pier

Starlings swarming over the west pier

You’ve probably seen the starlings swarming over the west pier in Brighton (or elsewhere)…

Swarming bahviour of the kind that creates the starling birdswarm over the pier in the evenings (see Vimeo video from New Orleans below, great example of it 1) looks organised but yet completely random.

It is created by surprisingly simple rules of interraction, comparable to the rules of a dance.¬†Mathematics has been used to create a simple animation to imitate the naturally occuring phenomenon (see wolfram link below 2) based on the idea that each ‘dancer’ randomly chooses one other to follow and one other to avoid, and then ‘randomly’ re-chooses. See wiki link 3 for more info on swarming behaviour and artificial intelligence.

1. http://vimeo.com/18365296

2. http://community.wolfram.com/groups/-/m/t/122095

3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swarm_behaviour