John C. Kirk (johnckirk) wrote,
John C. Kirk

MSc project

In a change of pace from my recent posts, I've been making some more progress on my MSc project. Since the last screenshot I posted here, I've mainly been focussing on the outside of the hive, specifically foraging behaviour. I think I've actually come out with something that's quite pretty, if not hypnotic:

Foraging bees

(Sorry it's a bit big, but if I shrink it then the dots disappear.)

The white square in the middle is the hive. The white dots are bees that are randomly wandering around looking for food. The blue dots are bees that have found food, and are making a beeline (ba-da-boom!) back to the hive. The red dots are bees that have been back to the hive, and are now going straight back to the food source they found, rather than pootling around. What this means is that after a while, all the white dots will become blue or red, and will be travelling in a straight line between the hive and a food source. At the moment, I've simplified it by saying that there's a food source in a square that's half-way between the hive and the outside of the black window. The upshot of this is that the bees will radiate outwards in a roughly circular pattern. The red/blue colour scheme is actually an accident, but I quite like it as a metaphor (the bees as the lifeblood of the hive).

If you fancy playing with this, you can download it here. It's only 19k, but you will need the .NET Framework v1.1 installed (23 Mb download from the Windows Update site). It may also work with Mono (an unofficial version of the .NET runtime for Linux/Mac), but I haven't tested that. Actually, I'd be interested to know whether it does work on that, if anyone fancies trying it out. Just save the exe file somewhere, and then click on the "Start" button when you run it. The bees will eventually stop moving, which simulates them dying of old age, but it should run for at least half an hour before that.

My next steps are to set up feeding stations, and have the bees tell each other about food sources that they've found.
Tags: bees, postgrad

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