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Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Alpha Dog

So I started work on sketching up some of my network ideas. I wanted to start with something simple - and something a little biological. So I decided to build a little "alpha dog effect" system in NetLogo. Took most of the day to learn the environment, but the results are pretty cool.

There are only two user controls: number of followers, and the amount of alpha-deference. When alpha-deference (the deference to the alpha attack dog) is low, all of the "follower" dogs will head more-or-less straight for the goal. When the alpha-deference is high, the followers will run to the alpha, then follow it to the goal. Points in between exhibit interesting results, where the dogs may precede the alpha, but will slow down their advance until the alpha dog is closer - eventually allowing it to share in the first strike.

NetLogo is a pretty neat environment, but the documentation is a little rough. Luckily, I know enough programming to be able to make sense of the NetLogo Dictionary (the real location for goodies), but I'm not sure how less adept programmers will fare when things have to be learned really, really quick.


Note: This was not a scientific study - rather, it was a test case for NetLogo using anecdotal concepts for "alpha dog" behavior.

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