University of Maryland Department of Computer Science

Self-Organizing Collective Intelligence for Adaptive Problem Solving

NSF ITR Project IIS-0325098 (2003-2009)

Principal Investigator

James Reggia, Professor, UMCP

Participating Graduate Students

Project Information

The goal of this project is to give self-organizing systems, such as collections of very simple reactive agents that move collectively, the ability to also solve problems. To do this, the agents are given a small amount of working memory and simple goal stacks. The resulting collection of agents, which are still primarily driven by reactive behaviors, have sufficient direction that we refer to them as exhibiting "guided self-organization". Among the specific topics we have examined are search-and-retrieve problems, logistics problems, self-assembly, self-replication, and diagnostic inference.

Project Abstract


The Movie

A simple demonstration of a simulated self-assembling building illustrates the basic concept of self-organization. In this example, a collection of blocks, each block being an independent agent that can only see other blocks nearby, effectively "grow" a house. There is no central controller here, and no master blueprint. No block has a pre-assigned final position - blocks look for local patterns that they recognize, and when a block finds such a pattern it deposits itself there. The movie is about two minutes long, and is excerpts from a longer process.
Last updated July 2008