On the performance of blind-infotaxis under inaccurate modeling of the environment
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Infotaxis is an olfactory search strategy proposed in 2007 by Vergassola et al. [M. Vergassola, E. Villermaux, B.I. Shraiman, Nature 445, 406 (2007)], to locate the source of a volatile substance transported in a turbulent environment. We consider a slightly modified strategy that we call blind-infotaxis and study its performance measured by the rate of success and mean search time, under changes in the environmental parameters such as diffusivity, rate of emission or wind velocity. We also quantify the drop in performance caused by an inaccurate modeling of the environment, expressed through an imperfect knowledge of these parameters. Our findings show that without further modification of the probability prior, blind-infotaxis remains robust as long as the estimated parameters fall within a certain range around their true values, but the success rate quickly drops making the search no longer feasible if the searcher severely underestimates or overestimates the real environment parameters. Our results have practical consequences for the design of infotactic machines and for the further optimisation of infotaxis-based strategies.
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