Thursday, March 22, 2012

Motorways and slime mould's rationality (!?)

This is probably the  strangest  most creative  idea for paper I have seen in the last months (HT Leo via MR).



"Are motorways rational from slime mould's point of view?"

Abstract:

We analyse the results of our experimental laboratory approximation of motorways networks with slime mould Physarum polycephalum. Motorway networks of fourteen geographical areas are considered: Australia, Africa, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Iberia, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, The Netherlands, UK, USA. For each geographical entity we represented major urban areas by oat flakes and inoculated the slime mould in a capital. After slime mould spanned all urban areas with a network of its protoplasmic tubes we extracted a generalised Physarum graph from the network and compared the graphs with an abstract motorway graph using most common measures. The measures employed are the number of independent cycles, cohesion, shortest paths lengths, diameter, the Harary index and the Randic index. We obtained a series of intriguing results, and found that the slime mould approximates best of all the motorway graphs of Belgium, Canada and China, and that for all entities studied the best match between Physarum and motorway graphs is detected by the Randic index (molecular branching index).

Soundtrack: Stand Up

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