Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)


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Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Christopher Wallace, Istvan Karsai

Committee Members

Martin Barrett


The self-organized nest construction behaviors of European paper wasps (Polistes dominula) show potential for adoption in artificial intelligence and robotic systems where centralized control proves challenging. However, P. dominula nest construction mechanisms are not fully understood. This research investigated how nest structures stimulate P. dominula worker action at different stages of nest construction. A novel stochastic site selection model, weighted by simple rules for cell age, height, and wall count, was implemented in a three-dimensional, step-by-step nest construction simulation. The simulation was built on top of a hexagonal coordinate system to improve precision and performance. Real and idealized nest data were used to evaluate simulated nests via two parameters: outer wall counts and compactness numbers. Structures generated with age-based rules were not significantly different from real nest structures along both parameters.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright 2018 by Matthew S. Harrison