The Hidden Benefits of Limited Communication and Slow Sensing in Collective Monitoring of Dynamic Environments

T. Aust, M. S. Talamali, M. Dorigo, H. Hamann, and A. Reina

IRIDIA – Technical Report No. TR/IRIDIA/2022-005

Most of our experiences and also our intuition is usually built
on a linear understanding of systems and processes. Complex systems
in general and more specifically swarm robotics in this context leverage
non-linear effects to self-organise and to ensure that ‘more is different’. In
previous work the non-linear and therefore counter-intuitive effect of ‘less
is more’ was shown for a site-selection swarm scenario. Although it seems
intuitive that being able to communicate over longer distances should be
beneficial, swarms were found to sometimes profit from communication
limitations. Here, we built on this work and show the same effect for the
collective perception scenario in a dynamic environment. We found an
additional effect of ‘slower is faster’. In certain situations, swarms benefit
from sampling their environment less frequently. All our work is based on
simulations using the ARGoS simulator extended with a simulator of the
smart environment for the Kilobot robot called Kilogrid. Our findings are
supported by an intensive empirical approach and a mean-field model.
Both effects seem important for designing swarms

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