Flocking on steroids

Flocking (running a large number of independent agents with simple proximity-based rules and letting interesting behavior emerge) has been a popular graphics technique since the 1987 SIGGRAPH paper by Craig Reynolds.  The idea is, of course, inspired by examples from the animal kingdom such as bird flocks and fish schools.  Today I saw an internet clip of 300,000 (!) starlings flocking. With such a large number of entities, the flock looks like some kind of bizarre physical fluid or smoke simulation.



  1. gilbazoid’s avatar

    Wow, awesome! I wonder if there’s some good way to decimate big boid simulations like that.

  2. memoni’s avatar

    Incompressible fluids of course 🙂 http://gamma.cs.unc.edu/DenseCrowds/

  3. stevehill’s avatar

    By coincidence, this was just posted to reddit a few hours ago:

  4. François’s avatar

    Steven Strogatz (Professor of Applied Mathematics at Cornell University) has a really nice talk at TED with video clips of birds and fishes and simulation of “synchronization” behavior:


  5. bjorke’s avatar

    coming to a tv commercial near you — starlings flocking into corporate logos

    (reminds me of 1940’s cartoons where swarms of angry bees would form arrows aiming at Donald Duck’s rear end)

    btw photographer Wayne Levin has made something of a job out of photographing similar behaviors in schools of Hawaiian akule

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