From Swarms to Societies

From Swarms to Societies: Origins of Social Organization by Alexander S. Mikhailov. Principles of Evolution (2011)

I’ve been intrested in swarm topologies, and topology in general, as scaffolfding for analyzing human society behavior at scale, and this article sets up some of the themes nicely.


  • “While particles in a reaction-diffusion system are passively transported by diffusion, agents of a social system are able to move themselves, determining the direction and magnitude of their motion.”
  • “If interactions are attractive, compact groups of actively moving agents become formed. Such groups are generally known as swarms.” “In the swarms, coherent collective motion of a population takes place.”
  • “Swarms can be seen as possessing a certain degree of collective intelligence.”
  • “Under spatial confinement, a high density of agents can be maintained even when attractive interactions between them are absent. This is clear when such behavior as evacuation udner panic is considered.”