Title: Relationship between structure and information processing in Physarum polycephalum

Authors: D.S. Hickey, L.A. Noriega

Addresses: Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Technology, Staffordshire University, Beaconside, ST16 9DG, Stafford, UK. ' Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Technology, Staffordshire University, Beaconside, ST16 9DG, Stafford, UK

Abstract: Mechatronics often involves connectionist information processing. Many connectionist models of the human nervous system, such as artificial neural networks, have concentrated on the interactions between neurons. Cells in these models are typically represented as simple nodes. However, single-celled organisms have a wide range of responses that allow them to thrive in a demanding environment. Recently, information processing by single-celled organisms has been demonstrated experimentally. An archetypal example of single cell computing is maze traversal by Physarum polycephalum, a giant single-celled organism. Here, we give a preliminary demonstration that information processing in Physarum can be modelled and understood in terms of standard artificial intelligence (such as search, path finding and ant colony optimisation) constructs and known physiological responses.

Keywords: biocomputing; Physarum polycephalum; single cell computing; ant colony optimisation; ACO; human adaptive mechatronics; maze traversal; single-celled organisms; artificial intelligence; path finding; information processing; subcellular structure; plasmodium.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMIC.2008.021475

International Journal of Modelling, Identification and Control, 2008 Vol.4 No.4, pp.348 - 356

Published online: 28 Nov 2008 *

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