Computational Models of Collective Foraging

M.Gheorghe, M.Holcombe and P. Kefalas

Abstract: In this paper the behaviour of a bee colony is modelled as society of communicating agents acting in parallel and synchronising their behaviour. Two computational approaches for defining the agents behaviour are introduced and compared. Their common features as well as the complementary aspects make them suitable for merging together into a more complex model. We introduce an agent-based approach by discussing two computational models with many similarities but with important differences, in order to get the benefits from both and to propose some ways of combining or complementing them. The usefulness of complementary models in the area of biochemical systems has been already pointed out. The first approach is based on a new rapidly growing research area called membrane or P systems whereas the second uses a relatively new variant of the stream X-machines, namely communicating stream X-machines. The first model has been already used for describing various living systems and the second has proved to be suitable for defining metabolic pathways or the behaviour of collaborating ants. In both approaches we deal with a set of agents each with a variety of attributes and capabilities that cooperate with each other to achieve a number of tasks.  In the second approach the asynchronous behaviour is considered, as it is suitable to modelling biological systems. Each agent can carry out a number of actions, while a task may require several agents to operate in parallel or one after the other until the task is completed. Each agent is specified by a set of rules; these rules involve conditions determined by the environment, the inputs to the system and by the state of the system, an internal memory device.

Keywords: P Systems, X-Machines, Modelling Honey Bee Colonies

Appeared in: Procedings of the 4th International Workshop on Information Processing in Cells and Tissues, IPCAT2001, Lueven, Belgium, August 2001.

Available: Hardcopy on request from the authors.

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