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Master Internship Proposal: Agent-Based Interactive Simulation of a Honeybee Colony

The abnormal mortality of honeybee colonies seen over the last 20 years could have multiple and complex causes, such as climate, pathogens, parasites or pesticides. In this project, we propose to model a honeybee colony in order to create an interactive simulation to evaluate the impact of these different factors. We will use an agent-based approach to comprehend the complexity of the colony, where several tens of thousands of honeybees interact and live together. This will enable us to improve our understanding of the biological system and to introduce disruptions into the model in order to evaluate ecological (impact of Varroa destructor or other parasites and pathogens) and anthropogenic (pesticides and beekeeping practices) phenomena. This internship aims at designing and implementing a first scalable version of the Agent-Based Model.

Subject and expected contributions:

This internship aims at designing and implementing a first scalable Agent-Based Model of a honeybee colony. Agent-based (or individual-based) modelling is based on an algorithmic description of behaviour and interactions of individuals making up a complex system. In such a model, the honeybee is defined as an individual, and its biological cycle, behaviour, and the interactions it can have with the other bees and its environment should be described from biological data. From the interactions between individuals (pheromones, nutrition, communication, etc.), it is expected to reveal complex phenomena such as the auto-regulation and auto-adaptation of the colony.

The simulation environment consists of a 10-frame Dadant hive, a type of hive widely used in apiculture. The ecosystem in which the hive is situated (e.g. climate) and its impact on the colony should be simulated following a simplified population-based approach.

Finally, a first 2D/3D visualisation of the simulation is expected. This visualisation should allow the interaction in real-time with the simulation (adding/removing frames, removing the queen, etc.).

The JADE platform based on the Java programming language will be used to implement the ABM. This platform simplifies the implementation of multi-agent systems by providing means of communication between agents, the visualization of their behaviour, and other features that facilitates the development of distributed systems.

Keywords: Agent-Based Model (ABM) and simulation, complex systems, biology

Considered collaborations: INRA (French National Institute for Agricultural Research), beekepers, and biologists.

LabUniversité de Bretagne Occidentale, 29200 Brest, France
Duration/Period5 months starting in Februray 2017
Deadline01/12/2016 0:00
KeywordsAgent-Based Model (ABM) and simulation; complex systems; biology;

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