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Pages 908-915
First published 30 July 2014

Effects of Personality Distribution on Collective Behavior

Brent E. Eskridge and Ingo Schlupp

Abstract (Excerpt)

Optimizing group success is challenging for multi-robot systems, especially for large systems such as robot swarms where even simple individual interaction rules can lead to complex group behavior. Studies of natural systems have shown that heterogeneous groups can outperform homogeneous groups, especially when individual differences lead to role or niche specialization. This happens even when the individuals are seemingly identical. Although individuals within a group may appear physically identical, they can vary widely in their personality, which significantly affects their behavior. However, determining the most effective composition of personalities in a group is particularly difficult in natural systems given the ambiguities of animal personalities and the physical challenges of repeated evaluations. Using a biologically-based collective movement model, we evaluate different personality distributions to determine their effect on the overall success of the group. Results show that although there are distributions that are clearly more effective than others, in many cases, there is a broad range of distributions that results in high group success. Furthermore, experiments using variable, or adaptive, personalities demonstrate that successful distributions are stable equilibriums as initially extreme distributions converge to these successful distributions as personalities change.