Search on an NK Landscape with Swarm Intelligence: Limitations and Future Research Opportunities

Ren Raw Chen, Cameron D. Miller, Puay Khoon Toh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Swarm intelligence has promising applications for firm search and decision-choice problems and is particularly well suited for examining how other firms influence the focal firm’s search. To evaluate search performance, researchers examining firm search through simulation models typically build a performance landscape. The NK model is the leading tool used for this purpose in the management science literature. We assess the usefulness of the NK landscape for simulated swarm search. We find that the strength of the swarm model for examining firm search and decision-choice problems—the ability to model the influence of other firms on the focal firm—is limited to the NK landscape. Researchers will need alternative ways to create a performance landscape in order to use our full swarm model in simulations. We also identify multiple opportunities—endogenous landscapes, agent-specific landscapes, incomplete information, and costly movements—that future researchers can include in landscape development to gain the maximum insights from swarm-based firm search simulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number527
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Boids
  • NK landscape
  • firm search
  • simulation
  • swarm intelligence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Numerical Analysis
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Computational Mathematics


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