Trail traffic flow prediction by contact frequency among individual ants

Abstract

Ants build a trail that leads to a new location when they move their colony. The trail’s traffic flows smoothly, regardless of the density on the trail. To the best of our knowledge, such a phenomenon has been reported only for ant species. The trail’s capacity is known as trail traffic flow. In this paper, we propose a probabilistic model of trail traffic flow, which overcomes some inadequacies of the kinetic model previously proposed in the literature. Our model answers a question unsolved by the previous model, namely, how many worker ants form such a density-independent trail. We focus on ants’ responses to mutual contacts that involve individuals in trail formation. We propose a model in which contact frequency predicts the number of worker ants that form a trail. We verify that our model’s estimates match the empirical data that ant experts reported in the literature. In modeling and evaluation, we discuss an intelligent ant species, the house-hunting ant Temnothorax albipennis, which is popular among the ant experts.

DOI: 10.1007/s11721-013-0085-8

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Cite this paper

@article{Sasaki2013TrailTF, title={Trail traffic flow prediction by contact frequency among individual ants}, author={Hideyasu Sasaki and Ho-fung Leung}, journal={Swarm Intelligence}, year={2013}, volume={7}, pages={307-326} }