Swarms of bees, colonies of ants, schools of fish, flocks of birds, and fireflies flashing synchronously are all examples of highly coordinated behaviors that emerge from collective, decentralized intelligence. Local interactions among a multitude of agents or “swarmettes” lead to a variety of dynamic patterns that may seem like choreographed movements of a meta-organism. This paper describes SwarmArt, a collaborative project between several computer scientists and an artist, which resulted in interactive installations that explore and incorporate basic mechanisms of swarm intelligence. The authors describe the scientific context of the artwork, how user interaction is provided through video surveillance technology, and how the swarm-based simulations were implemented at exhibitions and galleries.

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