What is a swarm?
When we think of a swarm, we usually think of swarms of insects, but the term swarm can be applied to different species (e.g herds, flocks, schools, societies (e.g I Couzin. ), and even different scales (e.g gluons, quarks, electrons, particles, cells, organisms, stars, etc).
These ideas are already being explored by a number of scientists, particularly in the field of artificial intelligence where swarm behaviours are used to explore collective behaviour/self organisation.
There are swarming behaviour and growth at various scales, including at cellular level. In their natural environments, cells often undertake complex collective behaviors in response to environmental and population cues. Thus, understanding how cells behave in the wild requires characterizing not only the behavior of isolated cells but also how environmental signals combine with cell-to-cell communication (such as quorum sensing and autocrine signaling to give rise to observed behaviors at the population level). Doing so requires us to examine how the cooperative behaviors of cell colonies differ from those of isolated cells and conversely, how the properties of single cells generate and explain the observed communal behavior. P Mehta 2010.
New states can arise from far from equilibrium, possessing an extraordinary degree of order, whereby trillions of molecules coordinate their actions in space and time. Under certain circumstances, entropy producing processes are able to organise themselves in the presence of noise, in a way that so called dissipative structures are formed (Prigogine and Lefever 1975, and Nicolis and Prigogine 1977). G Bodifee 1986.
This post seeks to describe a self organising dissipative system which supports biomass/information processing.