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A biologically inspired network design model

Zhang, Xiaoge; Adamatzky, Andrew; Chan, Felix T.S.; Deng, Yong; Yang, Hai; Yang, Xin She; Tsompanas, Michail Antisthenis I.; Sirakoulis, Georgios Ch; Mahadevan, Sankaran

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Xiaoge Zhang

Felix T.S. Chan

Yong Deng

Hai Yang

Xin She Yang

Georgios Ch Sirakoulis

Sankaran Mahadevan


A network design problem is to select a subset of links in a transport network that satisfy passengers or cargo transportation demands while minimizing the overall costs of the transportation. We propose a mathematical model of the foraging behaviour of slime mould P. polycephalum to solve the network design problem and construct optimal transport networks. In our algorithm, a traffic flow between any two cities is estimated using a gravity model. The flow is imitated by the model of the slime mould. The algorithm model converges to a steady state, which represents a solution of the problem. We validate our approach on examples of major transport networks in Mexico and China. By comparing networks developed in our approach with the man-made highways, networks developed by the slime mould, and a cellular automata model inspired by slime mould, we demonstrate the flexibility and efficiency of our approach.


Zhang, X., Adamatzky, A., Chan, F. T., Deng, Y., Yang, H., Yang, X. S., …Mahadevan, S. (2015). A biologically inspired network design model. Scientific Reports, 5, Article 10794.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 28, 2015
Online Publication Date Jun 4, 2015
Publication Date Jun 4, 2015
Deposit Date Aug 25, 2015
Publicly Available Date May 22, 2016
Journal Scientific Reports
Electronic ISSN 2045-2322
Publisher Nature Research (part of Springer Nature)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 5
Article Number 10794
Keywords networks, optimization, slime mould, bio-inspired
Public URL
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