The main inspiration for the ACO algorithm comes from stigmergy. This refers
to the interaction and coordination of organisms in nature by modifying the environment.
In stigmergy, the trace of an action done by an organism stimulates subsequent
actions by the same or other organisms. For instance, in a termite colony, one termite
might role a ball of mud and left it next to a hole. Another termite identifies the
mud and uses it to fix the hole. In nature, this causes complex and decentralized
intelligence without planning and direct communication.
ACO is one of the many swarm intelligence methods out there. In this area, collective behaviours of creatures that lead to problem-solving and intelligence are investigated.