The Interaction of Complexity and Management

By Michael R. Lissack | Go to book overview

NOTE

Portions of this chapter were adapted from the author’s article “New Wine in Old Wineskins: From Organic to Complex Knowledge Management through the Use of Story,” published in the journal Emergence.

1.
In 1986 Craig Reynolds made a computer model of coordinated animal motion such as bird flocks and fish schools. It was based on three-dimensional computational geometry of the sort normally used in computer animation or computer-aided design. Reynolds called the generic simulated flocking creatures boids. The basic flocking model consists of three simple steering behaviors which describe how an individual boid maneuvers based on the positions and velocities of its nearby flockmates:

• Separation: steer to avoid crowding local flockmates

• Alignment: steer toward the average heading of local flockmates

• Cohesion: steer to move toward the average position of local flockmates

In the boids model (and related systems like the multi-agent steering behavior demos) interaction between simple behaviors of individuals produce complex yet organized group behavior. The component behaviors are inherently nonlinear, so mixing them gives the emergent group dynamics a chaotic aspect. At the same time, the negative feedback provided by the behavioral controllers tends to keep the group dynamics ordered. The result is life-like group behavior. For further information see Levy 1992.

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