New Perspectives in the Study of Swarming Systems

Cristian Huepe, Applied Mathematics Department, Northwestern University

Throughout the last decade, various frameworks have been developed to study the collective dynamics of swarms of self-propelled agents such as bird flocks, fish schools, herds of quadrupeds, or even groups of autonomous robots. These theories and models have been able to characterize the emergence of states of collective order (in which agents move in the same direction), but often provide little insight into the many other interesting self-organizing phenomena occurring in swarms, such as the formation of spatial structures or the emergence of collective decision making processes. In this talk, I will present some new results that can help us develop a better understanding of swarming systems. In particular, I will describe a network approach where the system is mapped to a dynamical network, present recent results on the clustering dynamics of swarming systems, and introduce new order parameters that characterize the collective behavior of swarms.