Physarum solver: a bio-inspired method for sustainable supply chain network design problem

Xiaoge Zhang, Andrew Adamatzky, Felix T.S. Chan, Sankaran Mahadevan, Yong Deng (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


A supplier of products and services aims to minimize the capacity investment cost and the operational cost incurred by unwanted byproducts, e.g. carbon dioxide emission. In this paper, we consider a sustainable supply chain network design problem, where the capacity and the product flow along each link are design variables. We formulate it as a multi-criteria optimization problem. A bio-inspired algorithm is developed to tackle this problem. We illustrate how to design a sustainable supply chain network in three steps. First, we develop a generalized model inspired by the foraging behaviour of slime mould Physarum polycephalum to handle the network optimization with multiple sinks. Second, we propose a strategy to update the link cost iteratively, thus making the Physarum model to converge to a user equilibrium. Third, we perform an equivalent operation to transform a system optimum problem into a corresponding user equilibrium problem so that it is solvable in the Physarum model. The efficiency of the proposed algorithm is illustrated with numerical examples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)533-552
Number of pages20
JournalAnnals of Operations Research
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017


  • Decision making
  • Network design
  • Physarum
  • Supply chain
  • Sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Decision Sciences(all)
  • Management Science and Operations Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Physarum solver: a bio-inspired method for sustainable supply chain network design problem'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this