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    Musical swarm robot simulation strategies
    (Georgia Institute of Technology, 2011-11-16) Albin, Aaron Thomas
    Swarm robotics for music is a relatively new way to explore algorithmic composition as well as new modes of human robot interaction. This work outlines a strategy for making music with a robotic swarm constrained by acoustic sound, rhythmic music using sequencers, motion causing changes in the music, and finally human and swarm interaction. Two novel simulation programs are created in this thesis: the first is a multi-agent simulation designed to explore suitable parameters for motion to music mappings as well as parameters for real time interaction. The second is a boid-based robotic swarm simulation that adheres to the constraints established, using derived parameters from the multi-agent simulation: orientation, number of neighbors, and speed. In addition, five interaction modes are created that vary along an axis of direct and indirect forms of human control over the swarm motion. The mappings and interaction modes of the swarm robot simulation are evaluated in a user study involving music technology students. The purpose of the study is to determine the legibility of the motion to musical mappings and evaluate user preferences for the mappings and modes of interaction in problem solving and in open-ended contexts. The findings suggest that typical users of a swarm robot system do not necessarily prefer more inherently legible mappings in open-ended contexts. Users prefer direct and intermediate modes of interaction in problem solving scenarios, but favor intermediate modes of interaction in open-ended ones. The results from this study will be used in the design and development of a new swarm robotic system for music that can be used in both contexts.