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Approximation of Statistical Analysis and Estimation by Morphological Adaptation in a Model of Slime Mould
Jeff Jones and Andrew Adamatzky

True slime mould Physarum polycephalum approximates a range of complex computations via growth and adaptation of its protoplasmic transport network, stimulating a large body of recent research into how such a simple organism can perform such complex feats. The properties of networks constructed by slime mould are known to be influenced by the local distribution of stimuli within its environment. But can the morphological adaptation of slime mould yield any information about the global statistical properties of its environment? We explore this possibility using a particle based model of slime mould.We demonstrate how morphological adaptation in blobs of virtual slime mould may be used as a simple computational mechanism that can coarsely approximate statistical analysis, estimation and tracking. Preliminary results include the approximation of the geometric centroid of 2D shapes, approximation of arithmetic mean from spatially represented sorted and unsorted data distributions, and the estimation and dynamical tracking of moving object position in the presence of noise contaminated input stimuli. The results suggest that it is possible to utilise collectives of very simple components with limited individual computational ability (for example swarms of simple robotic devices) to extract statistical features from complex datasets by means of material adaptation and sensorial fusion.

Keywords: Morphological computation, physarum polycephalum, centroid, arithmetic mean, noisy estimation, sensorial fusion

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