Is this is a real field separate from all the things that looks similar to it? e.g.probability collectives (are they a thing?) and the nature-inspired algorithms people get disturbingly enthusiastic about (ant colonies, particle swarms, that one based on choirs…), and reliability engineering (Byzantine generals etc), …and quorum sensing? How about that?

Although this looks a little bit like collective decisions, this should be a design-oriented. When we say “multi agent systems” there is usually a presumption that the individual agents are fairly simple, not whole human beings. Simpler still, distributed statistics is about algorithms that approximate or approach statistics in a distributed fashion. Special case, flocking. The barriers betwixt these are permeable.

Links to those themes:

- Yoav Shoham and Kevin Leyton-Brown’s textbook,
*Multiagent Systems Algorithmic, Game-Theoretic, and Logical Foundations*is downloadable - Distributed information processing in biological and computational systems
- http://digest.nushackers.org/2014/10/11/consensus-filter/

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