A Framework of Space-Time Continuous Models for Algorithm Design in Swarm Robotics

Heiko Hamann, Heinz Wörn
Swarm Intelligence 2(2-4) (2008), 209-239


Designing and analyzing self-organizing systems such as robotic swarms is a challenging task even though we have complete knowledge about the robot’s interior. It is difficult to determine the individual robot’s behavior based on the swarm behavior and vice versa due to the high number of agent–agent interactions. A step towards a solution of this problem is the development of appropriate models which accurately predict the swarm behavior based on a specified control algorithm. Such models would reduce the necessary number of time-consuming simulations and experiments during the design process of an algorithm. In this paper we propose a model with focus on an explicit representation of space because the effectiveness of many swarm robotic scenarios depends on spatial inhomogeneity. We use methods of statistical physics to address spatiality. Starting from a description of a single robot we derive an abstract model of swarm motion. The model is then extended to a generic model framework of communicating robots. In two examples we validate models against simulation results. Our experience shows that qualitative correctness is easily achieved, while quantitative correctness is disproportionately more difficult but still possible.

(see www.springerlink.com/content/n7rv657177724g21/)

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