Termites Piling Woodchips

This model of Termites piling Woodchips was developed by Mitchel Resnick at the MIT Media Lab , and is described in his book, Turtles, Termites, and Traffic Jams: An Exploration in Massively Parallel Microworlds . As we begin, our red termites are spread randomly over a field littered with yellow wood chips. The object of the exercise is for the termites to pile the woodchips into piles.

Step 1

The problem we have chosen to face ourselves with is that the termites (1) don't "know" where they are on the field, (2) don't know what direction they're headed, and (3) will only know a woodchip if they bumped into it. We do allow the termites to pick up a woodchip when they bump into one (turning them orange), but we restrict them to only carrying one woodchip at a time. Given these restrictions, it is difficult to imagine piling behavior "emerging", but here goes...

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The following are various stages in the execution of the model:

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