Ant pheromone trail models have been used in various areas of computational research. They are particularly useful for finding the shortest path between 2 or more points, as the cumulative build up and subsequent evaporation of pheromones, on both regularly and rarely used paths serves to reinforcethe most efficent route between these points.
Positions analagous to ant nests and food are place within the site, the ants originate from the nest positions as search for the food positions laying a pheromone trail when they find food which will subsequently lead ants back to the nest.
Results obtained from ‘ant’ movement studies. The colours on the various shopfronts indicate the overall footfall (number of time the front of the shop is passed) of each shop. The ‘ants’ are run for 500 cycles over a grid, each cell having an area of 1 m2. The ‘ants’ move about the site in a random manner, each time they step on a grid cell that is adjacent to a shop front a value is incremented for the given shop.