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Description and composition of bio-inspired design patterns: a complete overview


In the last decade, bio-inspired self-organising mechanisms have been applied to different domains, achieving results beyond traditional approaches. However, researchers usually use these mechanisms in an ad-hoc manner. In this way, their interpretation, definition, boundary (i.e. when one mechanism stops, and when another starts), and implementation typically vary in the existing literature, thus preventing these mechanisms from being applied clearly and systematically to solve recurrent problems. To ease engineering of artificial bio-inspired systems, this paper describes a catalogue of bio-inspired mechanisms in terms of modular and reusable design patterns organised into different layers. This catalogue uniformly frames and classifies a variety of different patterns. Additionally, this paper places the design patterns inside existing self-organising methodologies and hints for selecting and using a design pattern.

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This work has been supported by the EU-FP7-FET Proactive project SAPERE Self-aware Pervasive Service Ecosystems, under contract no.256873.

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Correspondence to Jose Luis Fernandez-Marquez.



1. Design patterns summary

Table 2 summarises each design pattern giving the problem its solves and the solution it provides.

Table 2 Patterns table

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Fernandez-Marquez, J.L., Di Marzo Serugendo, G., Montagna, S. et al. Description and composition of bio-inspired design patterns: a complete overview. Nat Comput 12, 43–67 (2013).

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  • Self-organising systems
  • Bio-inspired mechanisms
  • Design patterns