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DICTIONARY.COM has flocking to mean the following

1:A group of animals that live, travel, or feed together.

2:A group of people under the leadership of one person, especially the members of a church.

3:A large crowd or number: had a flock of questions.

The group of animals could be Birds or fish that move and stay together as a group by mimicking each others movements

For Artificial Intelligence AI it means "behaviour that mimics lifeforms. The example I gave of flocking above about the birds is the main type of behavior that this represents"

Flocking in AI is in the form of mathematical algorithms(expressions) that represent rules for how objects(flockmates) behave.

The 4 simple rules

1. Separation This keeps the flockmates from crowding the other flockmates so that they dont bump into each other.

2. Alignment This makes each flockmate want to move at the same speed and in the same average direction as each other.

3. Cohesion This is rule keeps are the flockmates the tendency to keep together so that if they stray a certain distance, they will want to move towards the average position of all the other flockmates.

4. Obstacle Avoidance This keeps the flockmates from colliding with other objects that are not other flockmates. e.g a mountain

For futher study into artificial intelligence flocking. Check out Boids by Craig Reynolds available at URL http://www.red3d.com/cwr/boids/

Flocking is, in addition to the above, a process used by printmakers that print on cloth. It is worth undertaking with a friend, purely for the quality of the words that need to be used. When else will you get the opportunity to ask for "some flocking mordant quick!" The process is carried out like this:

Take a piece of wood and cut a design into it, this block will be what you print with, the printed item will bear the reverse image or design. As the wood is relatively shiny it will not hold enough ink to mark absorbent cloth sufficiently, rather than give up, flock it, you will need to. Before you flock anything you must get hold of some flock, about a jam jar full for a small block. Flock is essentially a sort of powder consisting of millions of extremely short strands of fibre. Either go to the flock supplier or take a sharp blade to some velvet, the colour doesn't matter, and shave off all of the fine strands that typify the surface of velvet, be careful not to breath too hard. Next acquire some flocking mordant, i suggest that you try the same supplier, or use some pva glue at just the right dilution. To proceed with the flocking of the block, spread the flocking mordant in an even film over the protruding design on the block using a flocking roller. A flocking roller is nothing more than a lino roller, but it is worth keeping one specially for flocking, just so you can call it your 'flocking roller'. Sprinkle the flock evenly over the applied mordant just before it dries; a tea strainer or sieve will make a very good sprinkler. You also get to call this your 'flocking shaker'. Let the flocking mordant set, so that the flock is stuck firmly but fluffily on the design of the block. Your block is flocked. Be sure to clear away any loose or unstuck flock.

All you need to do now is ink up the flocked block and print. Of course you could not bother to flock the block, but print with some flocking mordant onto some cloth and end up flocking the cloth instead.

The look and feel of a well flocked block is a true delight, so much so that the technique was co-opted by interior designers at an early date to make luxurious flock wallpaper.

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