Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences, Vol. 8, Iss. 2, April, 2004, pp. 131-146
@2004 Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology & Life Sciences


Emergence of Constraint in Self-organizing Systems

Stephen Guerin, RedfishGroup, Santa Fe, NM
Daniel Kunkle, RedfishGroup, Santa Fe, NM

Abstract: Practitioners of agent-based modeling are often tasked to model or design self-organizing systems while the theoretical foundation of self-organization in science remains to be set. This paper explores self-organization in the context of an agent-based model of ant colony food foraging. We gather specific measures of order-creation and constraint construction particular to leading theories of nonequilibrium thermodynamics that purport to govern self-organizing dynamics. These measures are used to explore three claims: (a) Constraints are constructed from entropy-producing processes in the bootstrapping phase of self-organizing systems; (b) positive feedback loops are critical in the structure formation phase; and (c) constraints tend to decay. The continued presence of far-from-equilibrium boundary conditions are required to reinforce constraints in the maintenance phase.

Keywords: constraint, self-organization, entropy, ant simulation, agent-based modeling