AiS Challenge Team Interim


Team Number: 038

School Name: Los Alamos High School

Area of Science: Computer Science and Mathematics

Project Title: A Novel New Idea for the Monte Carlo Simulation



Ants. Monte Carlo. What do they have in common? Our objective is to create a hive with a random number generator as its brain. Simple enough. However, the program becomes increasingly complex with selected elements that can influence the ant's behavior: among these would be a pheremone trail, an apple, or death. An attractor would be used to measure our ant's responsiveness, and we would try to interfere with the ant's response (the apple, etc.) when the program has run for a certain period of time, we would then examine the results. This research would allow us to understand collective and other emergent complex behaviors that are derived from a set of simple rules.

We're working on it...

So far:
Right now, we've been messing around with math and probabilities. We have talked with some experts on Monte Carlo algorithms and have written a few of our own. All of the members of the group demonstrate a clear understanding of the Monte Carlo method, its background, and its potential uses. Specifically, we have been developing mathematical algorithms for our ants' behavior (the rules) and for our influence on the ants' behavior.

The random number generator may end up being the most important component of our program; therefore, we`re making sure that it is up to speed. We have tested it in a variety of languages (c++, java, fortran) with different configurations in a program to calculate pi to 10 digits while measuring accuracy and speed. So far, we can use this random number loop (mod[polynomial]) in fortran to produce 1E6 random numbers (00:2:17) to implement the monte carlo method and get pi accuracy to 7 digits. With this encouraging result, we have begun to code the final ant program.

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