Stigmergy: Ants, Self-Organization & Large Scale Collaboration

Stigmergy is a mechanism of indirect coordination between agents or actions. The principle is that the trace left in the environment by an action stimulates the performance of a next action, by the same or a different agent. In that way, subsequent actions tend to reinforce and build on each other, leading to the spontaneous emergence of coherent, apparently systematic activity. Stigmergy is a form of self-organization. It produces complex, seemingly intelligent structures, without need for any planning, control, or even direct communication between the agents. (- Wikipedia)

Social insects societies such as ants or termites and human systems such as the web, free/open source software development or Wikipedia all exhibit stimergic collaboration. This talk discusses the notion of stigmergy, explores the principles that allow it to emerge and what we can learn from them.

Video producer: