Table of contents
The MANTA project is an application of the EthoModelling Framework (EMF) to the simulation of the social organization in ant colonies. Our aim with MANTA is to test hypotheses about the way social structures, such as a division of labour, can emerge as a consequence of the behaviours and interactions of individuals. In other words, we want to evaluate the minimal set of causes that has to be provided at the micro-level to observe given structures at the macro-level. Experiments on the social dynamics of ants have been, and still are, conducted on the following themes:
- Sociogenesis and demographical dynamics
- Division of labour
- Dominance relationships and hierarchies
- Polygyneous vs. monogyneous fundations
MANTA provides the researcher with:
- The EMF Kernel, which can interpret behavioral configuration files (i.e. species)
- A ready-to-use graphical user interface for displaying the simulations
- A graphical programming interface for programming new species
Update (1/15/2000) : Manta is now being ported to the Swarm language. No official version is already available, but you can contact Paulo Urbano to have more information.
Update (7/1/99): At least two people have reported errors in running both versions of Manta in the last two weeks. It seems I have made an error when unzipping and zipping them again. The links should normally now point to the correct archives. As a bonus, I've also uploaded the first version ever written in Delphi 1 (v1.5). Be warned that it does not use the same species and nests files than the two others. Tell me if you still have problems.
The original version of Manta has been written by myself in Smalltalk-80 in 1991. It has been followed by a Turbo-Pascal 7.0 version written by Steffen Lalande in 1992. I have implemented it in Delphi 2 in 1994, with a nicer graphical interface, and in Delphi 3 in 1997 (with the help of Iain Kusel). The following software is available for downloading :
- The Manta 3.0b2 application (Zip file - 820 Kb - Only runs on Windows '95 or greater) w/o the species programming interface. A tentative multi-windows version.
- The Manta 2.1b6 application (Zip file - 380 Kb - Only runs on Windows '95 or greater) with the species programming interface. The most stable version so far.
- The Manta 1.5b12 application (Zip file - 320 Kb - Runs on Windows 3.1, '95 or greater) with different files than the two other. A quite stable version on which most of the experiments have been conducted so far.
The two first versions are file-compatible, which means you can program a species under Manta2 and use it under Manta3. There is no documentation attached to these programs, because I have no time for writing one. You can try them and report any bugs to me. I cannot promise, however, I will look at them! (but I know some workarounds for common errors). The following software is not available on the net, but can be obtained by simply sending me a mail :
- The Smalltalk 2.5 and 4.1 versions (need Actalk, developed by Jean-Pierre Briot)
- The Turbo-Pascal 7.0 sources.
List of the people that have worked or still work on this project :
- Bruno Corbara - 1991/.. - Ethologist
- Dominique Fresneau - 1991/.. - Ethologist
- Steffen Lalande - 1992/1993 - Implementation in TP7, batch experiments
- Alain Touret - 1992/1994 - Experiments on foraging behaviours
- Nicolas Czternasty - 1993 - Experiments on Dominance Relationships
- Guillaume Hutzler - 1995/1996 - Experiments on Hierarchies
- Iain Kusel - 1997 - Experiments on foraging behaviours, graphical programming interface
- Paulo Urbano - 1998/.. - Port of Manta in Swarm and experiments on "colonial closure"
This project has been designed and conducted during 7 years by me and two ethologists from the LEEC (University of Paris XIII): Bruno Corbara (now at the University of Clermont-Ferrand) and Dominique Fresneau.
You might be interested to take a look at these papers for further information :
- MAAMAW'92 Paper describing the overall simulation framework.
- Simulating Societies '93 Paper describing a number of experiments
You might be interested to take a look at these links for further information :
- The review on Manta made by Howard A. Gutowitz
- The review of Manta written by Nigel Gilbert
- This other review of Manta by Gerhard Franz
- The Aintz project, close to Manta (but limited to foraging strategies)
- Hogeweg & Hesper works
- IBM simulation