Agar: An Animal Construction Kit
Agar is a system I built as part of my SM degree work at the
Media Lab. It provided a set of objects (world, creatures, sensors,
actions, and behaviors) for creating simulations of animal behavior.
The behaviors are specified in terms of agents, or small units
of behavior. Agar's main example was a simulation of ant food-foraging
The best description of Agar is in my MS Thesis, Agar: An Animal Construction Kit (1988). Unfortunately this version does not have illustrations.
Agar itself is available in two forms:
Agar's notable distinctions include:
- Lisp source for the Macintosh. You need Mac Common Lisp 2.0 to make use of this.
- A runnable application. You don't need Lisp for this, just a Mac. But you can't make new
simulations or changes.
Here's a picture of Agar's simulated ant world. The ants are hunting food and
bringing it back to their nest (circle), while marking the route with a
And here's a picture of the network of agents and sensors that makes up a single ant