Multi-agent system dynamics: Bifurcation and behavior of animal groups
Naomi Ehrich Leonard
IFAC Symposium on Nonlinear Control Systems, Toulouse, France, September
Systematic design of decentralized feedback for coordinated control of multi-agent systems
has much to gain from the rigorous examination of the nonlinear dynamics of collective animal behavior.
Animals in groups, from bird flocks to fish schools, employ decentralized strategies and have
limitations on sensing, computation, and actuation. Yet, at the level of the group, they are known
to manage a variety of challenging tasks quickly, accurately, robustly and adaptively in an uncertain
and changing environment. In this paper we review recent work on models and methods for studying the
mechanisms of collective migration and collective decision-making in high-performing animal groups.
Through bifurcation analyses we prove systematically how behavior depends on parameters that model
the system and the environment. These connections lay the foundations for proving systematic
control design methodologies that endow engineered multi-agent systems with the remarkable features
of animal group dynamics.
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