A swarm is a group of uninformed individuals that exhibit collective behaviors. Without any information about the external world, a swarm has limited ability to achieve complex goals. Prior work on human-swarm interaction methods allow a human to influence these uninformed individuals through either leadership or predation as informed agents that directly interact with humans. These methods of influence have two main limitations: (1) although leaders sustain influence over nominal agents for a long period of time, they tend to cause all collective structures to turn in to flocks (negating the benefit of other swarm formations) and (2) predators tend to cause collective structures to fragment. In this thesis, we present the use of mediators as a novel form for human-swarm influence and use mediators to shape the perimeter of a swarm. The mediator method uses special agents that operate from within the spatial center of a swarm. This approach allows a human operator to coordinate multiple mediators to modulate a rotating torus into various shapes while sustaining influence over the swarm, avoiding fragmentation, and maintaining the swarm's connectivity. The use of mediators allows a human to mold and adapt the torus' behavior and structure to a wide range of spatio-temporal tasks such as military protection and decontamination tasks. Results from an experiment that compares previous forms of human influence with mediator-based control indicate that mediator-based control is more amenable to human influence for certain types of problems.



College and Department

Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Computer Science



Date Submitted


Document Type





Shaping Swarm, Swarm Intelligence, Multi-agents System, Human Swarm Interaction, Swarm Robotics