What is a Swarm? A Framework for Understanding Swarms and their Applications

2020-07-31T20:10:34Z (GMT) by Zhong Thai
As problems in the world become increasingly complex, designers in multiple disciplines have begun to propose swarms as a solution. The espoused benefits include flexibility, resilience, and potential for decentralized control, yet there lacks consensus on what a swarm is, what characteristics they possess, and what applications they are able to address. This study addresses these questions by creating a unified approach for understanding and analyzing swarms, called the Swarm Analysis Framework. The framework pursues three goals: 1) provide extensive analysis on the many characteristics and applications that define a swarm, 2) remain flexible enough to facilitate design, testing, analysis, and other problems in understanding swarms, and 3) outline swarm applications specific to aircraft and spacecraft based swarms. Afterwards, the Swarm Analysis Framework is used to guide a case study in which the application is a swarm was developed to study one of these aerospace applications. Ultimately, the Swarm Analysis Framework, along with its extensions improvements, should be able to act as a guide or roadmap in understanding how swarms behave across multiple disciplines.