From YouTube, produced by Google Tech Talks
Ant colonies operate without central control; there is no one in charge and no ant directs the behavior of others. Colonies perform many tasks including foraging, nest construction, and care of the young. Task allocation is the process that adjusts the numbers of workers performing each task, according to the current situation. How do colonies get ants to show up at a picnic, and what determines which ants go? Experiments with harvester ants show that task allocation arises from a dynamical network of brief interactions. Which task an ant performs, and whether it performs it actively at that moment, depends on its recent rate of encounter with other ants. Grades 9-12. 1:05:09 min.