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Lightning early warning requires lightning location systems to process sensors' measurements in near real time. A new algorithm based on particle swarm optimization (PSO) is developed to provide reliable and immediate solutions of lightning location and occurrence time. Comparing with iterative-type algorithms, the PSO-based algorithm does not require initial value and is easy to program. Different parameter choice schemes for the PSO-based method are discussed and compared. The performance of the proposed algorithm is investigated by numerical test. The results show that the PSO-based algorithm is very suitable to solve the lightning location problem with high stability and very short time.