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Emergent behaviour

An emergent behaviour is shown when a number of simple entities (agents) operate in an environment, forming more complex behaviours as a collective. The complex behaviour is not a property of any single such entitiy, nor can it easily be predicted or deduced from behaviour in the lower-level entities.

The shape and behaviour of a flock of birds or school of fish are readily understandable examples, and it is typical that the mechanims governing the flock or school are harder to grasp than the behaviour of individual birds or fish.

This type of behaviour can be seen in a lot of places, from any multicellular biological organism to traffic patterns or organizational phenomena to computer simulations. The study of emergent behaviours is not generally considered a homogeneous field, but divided across it's application or problem domains.

See Society of Mind theory, neural networks, flocking, fractal, complex systems.

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