Variable threshold algorithm for division of labor analyzed as a dynamical system

IEEE Trans Cybern. 2014 Dec;44(12):2242-52. doi: 10.1109/TCYB.2014.2305194.


Division of labor is a widely studied aspect of colony behavior of social insects. Division of labor models indicate how individuals distribute themselves in order to perform different tasks simultaneously. However, models that study division of labor from a dynamical system point of view cannot be found in the literature. In this paper, we define a division of labor model as a discrete-time dynamical system, in order to study the equilibrium points and their properties related to convergence and stability. By making use of this analytical model, an adaptive algorithm based on division of labor can be designed to satisfy dynamic criteria. In this way, we have designed and tested an algorithm that varies the response thresholds in order to modify the dynamic behavior of the system. This behavior modification allows the system to adapt to specific environmental and collective situations, making the algorithm a good candidate for distributed control applications. The variable threshold algorithm is based on specialization mechanisms. It is able to achieve an asymptotically stable behavior of the system in different environments and independently of the number of individuals. The algorithm has been successfully tested under several initial conditions and number of individuals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't