In its most generic formulation, stigmergy (an optimization technique) is the phenomenon of indirect communication mediated by modifications of the environment.

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A systematic approach to cancer: evolution beyond selection

This recent open access paper in Clinical and Translational Medicine caught my attention primarily because it invokes the concept of stigmergy. It’s unusual, though not surprising, that the idea is now finding some currency in medicine. Eukaryotic cells have an entire panoply of communicative and cooperative mechanisms. Since the individual cellular participants can have independent goals in…

Stigmergy-based modeling to discover urban activity patterns from positioning data

New working paper freely available for download here. In this paper, we present an innovative approach based on stigmergy that aims to handle both complexity and dimensionality of these data, providing an analysis of urban crowds dynamics by exploiting taxi GPS data. complexitydispersed knowledgedistributed cognitionhuman-human stigmergysituated cognitionstigmergicstigmergic cognitionstigmergic epistemologyStigmergy

Tool selection during foraging in two species of funnel ants

This paper is to be found in Animal Behaviour, Volume 123, January 2017, pp. 207–216. Could this be an extension of the mechanism of stigmergy? (H/T to Jerry Coyne). We investigated tool selection in two species of Aphaenogaster ants by giving them the choice between different kinds of potential tools (natural and artificial objects). Ant workers showed a…

Lens of Time: Slime Lapse

H/T to Simon Garnier: Slime molds don’t look like much. Amorphous and gloppy, they spread across the forest floor in a mindless quest to consume whatever lies in their path. But research scientists are now learning that the routes slime molds take through their environment are anything but random. Despite their lack of a brain—or even…