A Physarum-inspired approach to supply chain network design

Xiaoge Zhang, Andrew Adamatzky, Xin She Yang, Hai Yang, Sankaran Mahadevan, Yong Deng

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


A supply chain is a system which moves products from a supplier to customers, which plays a very important role in all economic activities. This paper proposes a novel algorithm for a supply chain network design inspired by biological principles of nutrients’ distribution in protoplasmic networks of slime mould Physarum polycephalum. The algorithm handles supply networks where capacity investments and product flows are decision variables, and the networks are required to satisfy product demands. Two features of the slime mould are adopted in our algorithm. The first is the continuity of flux during the iterative process, which is used in real-time updating of the costs associated with the supply links. The second feature is adaptivity. The supply chain can converge to an equilibrium state when costs are changed. Numerical examples are provided to illustrate the practicality and flexibility of the proposed method algorithm.

Original languageEnglish
Article number052203
JournalScience China Information Sciences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • adaptivity
  • capacity investments
  • network optimization
  • Physarum
  • supply chain design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)


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