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PLoS Comput Biol. 2011 Sep;7(9):e1002177. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002177. Epub 2011 Sep 29.

Smart swarms of bacteria-inspired agents with performance adaptable interactions.

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School of Computer Science, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.


Collective navigation and swarming have been studied in animal groups, such as fish schools, bird flocks, bacteria, and slime molds. Computer modeling has shown that collective behavior of simple agents can result from simple interactions between the agents, which include short range repulsion, intermediate range alignment, and long range attraction. Here we study collective navigation of bacteria-inspired smart agents in complex terrains, with adaptive interactions that depend on performance. More specifically, each agent adjusts its interactions with the other agents according to its local environment--by decreasing the peers' influence while navigating in a beneficial direction, and increasing it otherwise. We show that inclusion of such performance dependent adaptable interactions significantly improves the collective swarming performance, leading to highly efficient navigation, especially in complex terrains. Notably, to afford such adaptable interactions, each modeled agent requires only simple computational capabilities with short-term memory, which can easily be implemented in simple swarming robots.

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