Download Ant Farm Simulator
Latest version: 0.5

Installer (1.65 Mb)

Source Code (old version) (67.1 Kb)



Keywords: Artificial intelligence, artificial life, emerging behaviour, entomology, myrmecology, animal behaviour.
using those keywords to try to generate the appropriate GoogleAds)

The goal of this software is to emulate ants ability to coordinate into the task of food-gathering, by mean of short-span individual reactions to environment events.

The algorithm used on this simulation considers, among others, the following points:

  1. Individual ant brain does not have the enough  capacity to remember neither food or nest locations.

  2. Ants react to the environment secreting scents, which are impregnated on the ground (odor traces).

  3. Odor traces have a limited persistence, vanishing as time pass.

  4. When an ant finds some odor trace of interest, it increase it adding some extra amount of scent.

  5. Ants cannot 'clean' odor traces as they find them; just increase them or ignore them.


On this simulation, ants use two kind of odor marks. The first, in brown, is secreted when the ant finds the nest. The second one, in green, is secreted when the ant finds food (See screenshot).

When abandoning the nest, ants move randomly in search of food ('explorer' behavior), leaving an odor trace whose intensity reach his maximum value on the nest. When they find food, they mark its location using a food trace, analogous to the one used when they find the nest. Ants carrying food follow the food trace from higher to lower intensity; the nest trace is followed from lower to higher intensity ('deliverer' behavior). Ants carrying no food follow food traces from lower to higher intensity ('tracker' behavior) (See screenshot for version 0.3).


Latest version:  

0.5 (04/03/2005)

- Fully revamped user interface.
- Multi-nest support, allowing ant species with different color, size and life span.
- User can edit the simulation before and on execution time. User interface allows to modify: food location, nest location, add obstacles.
- Ants react to ants from other nests.
- Many bugs have been fixed (Thanks to Kent Paul Dolan for the thorough Beta-testing)

Version history...

Related Links

Ant Hill Sim C# program created by SPOT. Based on Ant Farm Simulator.
El Olor de las Hormigas Article about ants ability to recognize odors. Includes a reference to Ant Farm Simulator.
Ant Viewer 1.0 An excellent Java Applet about Self-Organization in ants. By Jean-Philippe Rennard
Langton's Ant By Anna Claudia Nardella, this page has a Java applet which demonstrates this amazing 'cellular automaton' algorithm.
Vida Artificial Artificial life software. Bugs grow and evolve. Also, includes a link to the homonymous forum (Spanish)
BICHOS. Artificial life software. Bugs grow and evolve (Spanish)
Primordial Life Probably the best artificial life software and screensaver ever.







Ant Farm Simulator (c) 2004 by Roberto Aguirre Maturana.  e-mail:

This program and its source code are evolutionware. It means that you are free to duplicate and modify the source code for your own purposes. If you publish your modified version of this program, please include a reference to this website and the author.

Página Personal de Roberto Aguirre Maturana