Best Of Web 2022 – Max Patwardhan

Best Of Web 2022 – Max Patwardhan

Sebastian Lague is youtuber whos content is focused on programming and game development. Exploring a wide variety of ideas throughout his video series, he focuses on slime-molds and ants in this particular video. The film itself takes a number of twists and turns, but it’s the end of the video that I am primarily focused on. After creating a model to solve the “traveling salesman” problem with the tactics of ants, Sebastian begins be defining “agents” in a development space on his computer. These agents are represented by individual points that light up a pixel on the screen. The agents move linearly at a set velocity, and bounce off the boundaries of the development space akin to an early 2000’s DVD screensaver. He writes these agents as a compute-shader in order run the computations in parallel on his graphics card rather than his CPU (which is exponentially faster). Sebastian then adds a fading “tail” to each of the agents, eventually giving each agent a weighted propensity to follow any tail it comes into contact with. With this simple set of rules, a seemingly absurd emergent behavior follows. There are plenty of examples I could have chosen that demonstrate physical instances of flow, but I am fascinated by the way that such a facile, linear model creates exceedingly organic, fluid-esque shapes. The way that “flow” emerges out of this video made it a clear choice in my mind upon the assignment of this task.

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1 Comment. Leave new

  • Anders Hamburgen
    Sep 14, 2022 21:01

    First prize: You really thought outside the box on this. You explained Sebastian Lague’s work to me once before and I finally took the time to see what it was about. I feel like there’s a lot we could learn about natural processes by modeling flows with simple constraints other than the physical ones we’re used to dealing with.

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