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Ant Foraging Revisited

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5 Author(s)

Most previous artificial ant foraging algorithms have to date relied to some degree on a priori knowledge of the environment, in the form of explicit gradients generated by the nest, by hard-coding the nest location in an easily-discoverable place, or by imbuing the artificial ants with the knowledge of the nest direction. In contrast, the work presented solves ant foraging problems using two pheromones, one applied when searching for food and the other when returning food items to the nest. This replaces the need to use complicated nest-discovery devices with simpler mechanisms based on pheromone information, which in turn reduces the ant system complexity. The resulting algorithm is orthogonal and simple, yet ants are able to establish increasingly efficient trails from the nest to the food in the presence of obstacles. The algorithm replaces the blind addition of new amounts of pheromones with an adjustment mechanism that resembles dynamic programming.

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