Department of Mathematics

Two Day Workshop: Problem Solving by Slime Moulds

Biological systems are by their nature decentralized when faced with complex problems? For example, how does the brain balance information in choosing between two options? How do insect colonies allocate their workforce between available food sources? And how does the acellular slime mould, Physarum, build efficient transport networks? All these problems require decentralised information processing, be it in terms of local interactions between neurons, ants or protoplasm. The question is how these interactions can solve problems. 

The slime mould, Physarum, is an excellent model system for decentralised problem solving. It has no central ‘brain’ yet it can solve complex nutritional and transport problems. Furthermore, much of the behaviour of Physarum can be understood in terms of a simple mathematical model, known as the Physarum solver. The specific knowledge about the Physarum system combined with the generalisation afforded by the model makes it a particular tractable system.  This workshop brings together researchers from Sweden, Japan, Australia and France to look at these problems. We have a number of talks which are open to anyone interested and during the week will have extensive research discussions on this area.

If you are interested in participating, send an e-mail to David Sumpter.

Place: Beurlingrummet, Ångström laboratory


Tuesday, September 20

10:00-10:30                  Toshi Nakagaki (Future University, Hakodate) Survey of rheological study of  Physarum movement and morphogenesis.
10:30-11:00 Chris Reid (Sydney University) Mechanisms of dynamic problem solving in nature: an empirical approach
14:00-14:30 Audrey Dussutour (Toulouse University) “Decision making and competitive foraging in slime molds”
14:30-15:00 Tanya Latty (Sydney University), TBA

Wednesday, September 21

10:00-10:30        Kentaro Ito (Hiroshima University) Risk management by Physarum
10:30-11:00 Qi Ma (Uppsala) Stochastic physarum models
14:00-14:30 Anders Johansson (Uppsala) Convergence of physarum solver for linear programming problems
14:30-15:00 Ryo Koboyashi (Hiroshima University), TBA

This workshop is supported by a Multidisciplinary BIO 2011 grant from SSF.