Emergence of agent swarm migration and vortex formation through inelastic collisions

D. Grossman, I. S. Aranson, E. Ben Jacob

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations


Biologically inspired models of self-propelled interacting agents display a wide variety of collective motion such as swarm migration and vortex formation. In these models, active interactions among agents are typically included such as velocity alignment and cohesive and repulsive forces that represent agents' short- and long-range 'sensing' capabilities of their environment. Here, we show that similar collective behaviors can emerge in a minimal model of isotropic agents solely due to a passive mechanism - inelastic collisions among agents. The model dynamics shows a gradual velocity correlation build-up into the collective motion state. The model displays a discontinuous transition of collective motion with respect to noise and exhibits several collective motion types such as vortex formation, swarm migration and also complex spatio-temporal group motion. This model can be regarded as a hybrid model, connecting granular materials and agent-based models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number023036
JournalNew Journal of Physics
StatePublished - Feb 25 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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