The role of noise in self-organized decision making by the true slime mold Physarum polycephalum

Bernd Meyer, Cedrick Ansorge, Toshiyuki Nakagaki

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Self-organized mechanisms are frequently encountered in nature and known to achieve flexible, adaptive control and decision-making. Noise plays a crucial role in such systems: It can enable a self-organized system to reliably adapt to short-term changes in the environment while maintaining a generally stable behavior. This is fundamental in biological systems because they must strike a delicate balance between stable and flexible behavior. In the present paper we analyse the role of noise in the decision-making of the true slime mold Physarum polycephalum, an important model species for the investigation of computational abilities in simple organisms. We propose a simple biological experiment to investigate the reaction of P. polycephalum to time-variant risk factors and present a stochastic extension of an established mathematical model for P. polycephalum to analyze this experiment. It predicts that-due to the mechanism of stochastic resonance-noise can enable P. polycephalum to correctly assess time-variant risk factors, while the corresponding noise-free system fails to do so. Beyond the study of P. polycephalum we demonstrate that the influence of noise on self-organized decision-making is not tied to a specific organism. Rather it is a general property of the underlying process dynamics, which appears to be universal across a wide range of systems. Our study thus provides further evidence that stochastic resonance is a fundamental component of the decision-making in self-organized macroscopic and microscopic groups and organisms.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere0172933
    Pages (from-to)1-19
    Number of pages19
    JournalPLoS ONE
    Volume12
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017

    Cite this

    Meyer, Bernd ; Ansorge, Cedrick ; Nakagaki, Toshiyuki. / The role of noise in self-organized decision making by the true slime mold Physarum polycephalum. In: PLoS ONE. 2017 ; Vol. 12, No. 3. pp. 1-19.
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    The role of noise in self-organized decision making by the true slime mold Physarum polycephalum. / Meyer, Bernd; Ansorge, Cedrick; Nakagaki, Toshiyuki.

    In: PLoS ONE, Vol. 12, No. 3, e0172933, 01.03.2017, p. 1-19.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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