Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Bridges, Susan M.

Committee Member

Watkins, Andrew B.

Committee Member

Hodges, Julia E.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Computer Science

Degree Name

Master of Science


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


Department of Computer Science


This thesis compares the performance of heterogeneous and homogenous swarms. Swarms are defined as particles or agents which react to their environment and fellow particles or agents according to social rules. The weights of three attributes of an individual agent were varied for these experiments: Collision Avoidance with individual agents in the swarm, Center of Mass of the swarm and the parameter that controls Velocity Matching in the swarm. In homogenous swarms, all individuals had the same attribute weights while in heterogeneous swarms weights for one attribute were taken from a normal distribution for the population. These swarms were then given goals on a map to pursue. The maps were two-dimensional grid-surfaces with terrains of open, mountain and swamps. Performance was defined as the number of steps it took for 90% of the swarm to reach its final goal. The results show that heterogeneous swarms outperformed homogenous swarms if the weights for the Center of Mass Weight attribute were heterogeneous in the population. The Collision Avoidance and Matched Velocity attributes showed little performance difference for heterogeneous and homogenous swarms for the parameter weights tested. However, swarms heterogeneous in the Matched Velocity parameter showed substantial performance improvements for the most difficult map.