About the Boids

These 'bird-like objects' were first developed by Craig Reynolds as a model of flocking behaviour in birds. Each boid follows a simple set of rules: 'don't crowd nearby boids', 'move in the same overall direction as nearby boids', 'move towards the overall centre of mass of the nearest group of boids'. The boids generate the complex behaviours seen in flocks of birds without the need for a central, co-ordinating organiser. This kind of 'self-organisation' is often considered to be an example of emergence.

Turn Swarming off

The Durham Emergence Project (DEP) is an interdisciplinary research initiative involving collaboration between philosophers and physicists, made possible through the generous support of the John Templeton Foundation.

Emergence, or dependent novelty, is of increasing interest to scientists and philosophers as a way of characterising relationships between complex entities and their parts, relationships between the sciences, and the place of the mind in the physical world. The aim of the project is to build on recent scientific and philosophical research, including recent mathematical methods in condensed matter physics, powers theories in the metaphysics of causation, and recent analyses of intertheory relations in the philosophy of science, to advance understanding of the possibility and plausibility of strong emergence