From Honeybees to Robots and Back: Division of Labour based on Partitioning Social Inhibition

Payam Zahadat, Sibylle Hahshold, Ronald Thenius, Karl Crailsheim, Thomas Schmickl
Bioinspiration & Biomimetics 10(6) (2015)


In this paper, a distributed adaptive partitioning algorithm inspired by division of labor in honeybees is investigated for its applicability in a swarm of underwater robots in one hand and is qualitatively com- pared with the behaviour of honeybee colonies on the other hand. The algorithm, Partitioning Social Inhi- bition (PSI), is based on local interactions and uses a simple logic inspired from age-polyethism and task allocation in honeybee colonies. The algorithm is analyzed in simulation and is successfully applied here to partition a swarm of underwater robots into groups demonstrating its adaptivity to changes and appli- cability in real world systems. In a turn towards the inspiration origins of the algorithm, three honeybee colonies are then studied for age-polyethism behaviours and the results are contrasted with a simulated swarm running the PSI algorithm. Similar effects are detected in both the biological and simulated swarms suggesting biological plausibility of the mechanisms employed by the artificial system.

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