Task allocation in ant colonies

Alejandro Cornejo, Anna Dornhaus, Nancy Lynch, Radhika Nagpal

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

29 Scopus citations


In this paper we propose a mathematical model for studying the phenomenon of division of labor in ant colonies. Inside this model we investigate how simple task allocation mechanisms can be used to achieve an optimal division of labor.

We believe the proposed model captures the essential biological features of division of labor in ant colonies and is general enough to study a variety of different task allocation mechanisms. Within this model we propose a distributed randomized algorithm for task allocation that imposes only minimal requirements on the ants; it uses a constant amount of memory and relies solely on a primitive binary feedback function to sense the current labor allocation. We show that with high probability the proposed algorithm converges to a near-optimal division of labor in time which is proportional to the logarithm of the colony size.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDistributed Computing - 28th International Symposium, DISC 2014, Proceedings
EditorsFabian Kuhn
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9783662451731
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
Event28th International Symposium on Distributed Computing, DISC 2014 - Austin, United States
Duration: Oct 12 2014Oct 15 2014

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference28th International Symposium on Distributed Computing, DISC 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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