Getting closer to the goal by being less capable

Pedro D. Manrique, Mason Klein, Yao Sheng Li, Chen Xu, Pak Ming Hui, Neil F. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Understanding how systems with many semi-autonomous parts reach a desired target is a key question in biology (e.g., Drosophila larvae seeking food), engineering (e.g., driverless navigation), medicine (e.g., reliable movement for brain-damaged individuals), and socioeconomics (e.g., bottom-up goal-driven human organizations). Centralized systems perform better with better components. Here, we show, by contrast, that a decentralized entity is more efficient at reaching a target when its components are less capable. Our findings reproduce experimental results for a living organism, predict that autonomous vehicles may perform better with simpler components, offer a fresh explanation for why biological evolution jumped from decentralized to centralized design, suggest how efficient movement might be achieved despite damaged centralized function, and provide a formula predicting the optimum capability of a system’s components so that it comes as close as possible to its target or goal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereaau5902
JournalScience Advances
Volume5
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 6 2019

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biological evolution
larvae
Drosophila
navigation
biology
medicine
organisms
food
brain
vehicles
engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Manrique, P. D., Klein, M., Li, Y. S., Xu, C., Hui, P. M., & Johnson, N. F. (2019). Getting closer to the goal by being less capable. Science Advances, 5(2), [eaau5902]. https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aau5902

Getting closer to the goal by being less capable. / Manrique, Pedro D.; Klein, Mason; Li, Yao Sheng; Xu, Chen; Hui, Pak Ming; Johnson, Neil F.

In: Science Advances, Vol. 5, No. 2, eaau5902, 06.02.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Manrique, PD, Klein, M, Li, YS, Xu, C, Hui, PM & Johnson, NF 2019, 'Getting closer to the goal by being less capable', Science Advances, vol. 5, no. 2, eaau5902. https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aau5902
Manrique PD, Klein M, Li YS, Xu C, Hui PM, Johnson NF. Getting closer to the goal by being less capable. Science Advances. 2019 Feb 6;5(2). eaau5902. https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aau5902
Manrique, Pedro D. ; Klein, Mason ; Li, Yao Sheng ; Xu, Chen ; Hui, Pak Ming ; Johnson, Neil F. / Getting closer to the goal by being less capable. In: Science Advances. 2019 ; Vol. 5, No. 2.
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