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July 06, 2007

Simulated Ants!

Amongst the projects recently funded by the Foundation under its Research Grants programme is the Modelling4All project, led by Ken Kahn and Howard Noble (OUCS, University of Oxford).

The project plans to develop services for creating, exploring and analysing models, and also to try to build up a community around those services where models and their components are shared and discussed. In addition, they are interested in exploring how such models can be run in shared virtual spaces such as Second Life. I'm quite intrigued by this (especially their aspirations to offer "an alternative to the 'god's eye' view" when a model is run - playing the role of a fish in a school and so on), so I'm looking forward to seeing how the project progresses.

Via a post on the O'Reilly Radar weblog, I came across this YouTube video of a simulation of ant feeding behaviour running in Second Life. While I don't think this example really encapsulates all the sort of features that the Modelling4All team suggest, it nevertheless hints at some of the potential for using Second Life for this sort of application. And it's quite a fun video!


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Interesting and pertinent project. I've suggested they hold a meeting on Eduserv Island given there's an SL component.

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