The convergence of bird flocking

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


We bound the time it takes for a group of birds to stabilize in a standard flocking model. Each bird averages its velocity with its neighbors lying within a fixed radius. We resolve the worst-case complexity of this natural algorithm by providing asymptotically tight bounds on the time to equilibrium. We reduce the problem to two distinct questions in computational geometry and circuit complexity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number21
JournalJournal of the ACM
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Information Systems
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Artificial Intelligence


  • Dynamic systems
  • Natural algorithms


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