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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 140309, 9 pages
Research Article

Emergence of a Snake-Like Structure in Mobile Distributed Agents: An Exploratory Agent-Based Modeling Approach

1Bahria University, Islamabad 44000, Pakistan
2COSIPRA Lab, Computing Science & Mathematics, School of Natural Sciences, University of Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA, UK

Received 6 October 2013; Accepted 5 January 2014; Published 20 February 2014

Academic Editors: S. Richter, B. Sun, and C. Yu

Copyright © 2014 Muaz A. Niazi. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The body structure of snakes is composed of numerous natural components thereby making it resilient, flexible, adaptive, and dynamic. In contrast, current computer animations as well as physical implementations of snake-like autonomous structures are typically designed to use either a single or a relatively smaller number of components. As a result, not only these artificial structures are constrained by the dimensions of the constituent components but often also require relatively more computationally intensive algorithms to model and animate. Still, these animations often lack life-like resilience and adaptation. This paper presents a solution to the problem of modeling snake-like structures by proposing an agent-based, self-organizing algorithm resulting in an emergent and surprisingly resilient dynamic structure involving a minimal of interagent communication. Extensive simulation experiments demonstrate the effectiveness as well as resilience of the proposed approach. The ideas originating from the proposed algorithm can not only be used for developing self-organizing animations but can also have practical applications such as in the form of complex, autonomous, evolvable robots with self-organizing, mobile components with minimal individual computational capabilities. The work also demonstrates the utility of exploratory agent-based modeling (EABM) in the engineering of artificial life-like complex adaptive systems.