Toward a Theory of Collective Resource Distribution: A Study of a Dynamic Morphogenesis Controller

Payam Zahadat, Daniel Nicolas Hofstadler

Publikation: Artikel i tidsskrift og konference artikel i tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


Distribution of resources can be a collective decision making process in both natural and artificial systems. The division of a colony into subtasks, the ant trails exploring the environment and connecting the nest to the food sources, and the growth and spread of branches in a tree to optimize the access to light, are different examples of collective distribution processes. In this paper, collective decision on distribution of resource is investigated via an algorithm inspired by plants morphogenesis. The algorithm, called Vascular Morphogenesis Controller (VMC), acts based on the competition of branches in a plant for limited shared resources - water, minerals, etc. The VMC algorithm decides on the changes in the shape of an artificial structure. The structure is a collective entity consisting of several nodes. The nodes act as agents running the algorithm and deciding collectively on the distribution of a shared resource. A change in the distribution of the resource may lead to addition or deletion of nodes and change the morphology of the structure. The system is dynamic and adaptive to variations in the environmental conditions (e.g. light). In this paper, the effects of different parameterizations of the algorithm on the morphology aspects of the collective structure (e.g. asymmetry and dynamicity) are studied analytically and numerically. A set of experiments are presented with the VMC embodied in a physical structure. The structure is made out of modules that hold VMC nodes and can be manually attached or detached following the suggestions of the algorithm. The experiments are performed with various parameters and environmental conditions (e.g. different lighting). The results support the findings of the theoretical study. The paper provides a deeper understanding of the functionalities of VMC and a basis for parameter selection according to desired behaviors. It also indicates similarities in some of the properties of this system and other collective systems suggesting potential benefits of viewing various types of collective systems from the perspective of resource distribution.
TidsskriftSwarm Intelligence
Sider (fra-til)347–380
StatusUdgivet - 2019


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