fall in line

Robot Swarms Invade Kentucky

One thing that the robots don’t know yet is how to define boundaries of the network, so they often spread out from the center and then get disconnected. The robots can communicate via one another (they know the neighbors, but don’t know about everybody else) but not with everybody at once. So if they need to find a robot that is not in their neighborhood, they must relay the info via their neighbors.

To find the answer, they go around and query one another to find the result. The robot that is searching just goes around and asks a robot next to him. The network reconfigures in real-time and the robot is going to move around the network until it finds the robot in question. They can also form protective areas/fences. And, of course, they can also leave the planet in orderly fashion, so McLurkin has his robots leave the stage by ID. Two special robots know they are special and the rest know that they are ordinary. So they query all neighbors about their ID and then place themselves between the two neighbors—one that has a greater id than them and one that has a lower id than them—until the whole “squad” is arranged.

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