A Model of Symmetry Breaking in Collective Decision-Making

  • Heiko Hamann
  • Bernd Meyer
  • Thomas Schmickl
  • Karl Crailsheim
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6226)


Symmetry breaking is commonly found in self-organized collective decision making. It serves an important functional role, specifically in biological and bio-inspired systems. The analysis of symmetry breaking is thus an important key to understanding self-organized decision making. However, in many systems of practical importance available analytic methods cannot be applied due to the complexity of the scenario and consequentially the model. This applies specifically to self-organization in bio-inspired engineering. We propose a new modeling approach which allows us to formally analyze important properties of such processes. The core idea of our approach is to infer a compact model based on stochastic processes for a one-dimensional symmetry parameter. This enables us to analyze the fundamental properties of even complex collective decision making processes via Fokker–Planck theory. We are able to quantitatively address the effectiveness of symmetry breaking, the stability, the time taken to reach a consensus, and other parameters. This is demonstrated with two examples from swarm robotics.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heiko Hamann
    • 1
  • Bernd Meyer
    • 2
  • Thomas Schmickl
    • 1
  • Karl Crailsheim
    • 1
  1. 1.Artificial Life Lab of the Dep. of ZoologyKarl-Franzens UniversityGrazAustria
  2. 2.FIT Centre for Research in Intelligent SystemsMonash UniversityMelbourne

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