Self-organization is a natural phenomenon that emerges in systems with a large number of interacting components. Self-organized systems show robustness, scalability, and flexibility, which are essential properties when handling real-world problems. Swarm intelligence seeks to design nature-inspired algorithms with a high degree of self-organization. Yet, we do not know why swarm-based algorithms work well and neither we can compare the different approaches in the literature. The lack of a common framework capable of characterizing these several swarm-based algorithms, transcending their particularities, has led to a stream of publications inspired by different aspects of nature without much regard as to whether they are similar to already existing approaches. We address this gap by introducing a network-based framework−the interaction network−to examine computational swarm-based systems via the optics of social dynamics. We discuss the social dimension of several swarm classes and provide a case study of the Particle Swarm Optimization. The interaction network enables a better understanding of the plethora of approaches currently available by looking at them from a general perspective focusing on the structure of the social interactions.
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