A network design problem is to select a subset of links in a transport network that satisfy passengers or cargo transportation demands while minimizing the overall costs of the transportation. We propose a mathematical model of the foraging behaviour of slime mould P. polycephalum to solve the network design problem and construct optimal transport networks. In our algorithm, a traffic flow between any two cities is estimated using a gravity model. The flow is imitated by the model of the slime mould. The algorithm model converges to a steady state, which represents a solution of the problem. We validate our approach on examples of major transport networks in Mexico and China. By comparing networks developed in our approach with the man-made highways, networks developed by the slime mould, and a cellular automata model inspired by slime mould, we demonstrate the flexibility and efficiency of our approach.
ASJC Scopus subject areas