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A morphological adaptation approach to path planning inspired by slime mould

Jones, Jeff

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© 2015 Taylor & Francis. Path planning is a classic problem in computer science and robotics which has recently been implemented in unconventional computing substrates such as chemical reaction-diffusion computers. These novel computing schemes utilise the parallel spatial propagation of information and often use a two-stage method involving diffusive propagation to discover all paths and a second stage to highlight or visualise the path between two particular points in the arena. The true slime mould Physarum polycephalum is known to construct efficient transport networks between nutrients in its environment. These networks are continuously remodelled as the organism adapts its body plan to changing spatial stimuli. It can be guided towards attractant stimuli (nutrients, warm regions) and it avoids locations containing hazardous stimuli (light irradiation, repellents, or regions occupied by predatory threats). Using a particle model of slime mould we demonstrate scoping experiments which explore how path planning may be performed by morphological adaptation. We initially demonstrate simple path planning by a shrinking blob of virtual plasmodium between two attractant sources within a polygonal arena. We examine the case where multiple paths are required and the subsequent selection of a single path from multiple options. Collision-free paths are implemented via repulsion from the borders of the arena. Finally, obstacle avoidance is implemented by repulsion from obstacles as they are uncovered by the shrinking blob. These examples show proof-of-concept results of path planning by morphological adaptation which complement existing research on path planning in novel computing substrates.


Jones, J. (2015). A morphological adaptation approach to path planning inspired by slime mould. International Journal of General Systems, 44(3), 279-291.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2015
Deposit Date Aug 24, 2015
Publicly Available Date Feb 20, 2016
Journal International Journal of General Systems
Print ISSN 0308-1079
Electronic ISSN 1563-5104
Publisher Taylor and Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 44
Issue 3
Pages 279-291
Keywords path planning, morphological computation, slime mould, collective computation, collision avoidance, robotics
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International Journal of General Systems on 26 January 2015, available online:


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