A Model of Symmetry Breaking in Collective Decision-Making
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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