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Efficient System-Wide Coordination in Noisy Environments

André A. Moreira, Abhishek Mathur, Daniel Diermeier, Luis A. N. Amaral and Richard M. Karp
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 101, No. 33 (Aug. 17, 2004), pp. 12085-12090
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3373094
Page Count: 6
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Efficient System-Wide Coordination in Noisy Environments
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Abstract

Many natural and social systems display global organization and coordination without centralized control. The origin of this global coordination is a topic of great current interest. Here we investigate a density-classification task as a model system for coordination and information processing in decentralized systems. We show that sophisticated strategies, selected under idealized conditions, are not robust to environmental changes. We also demonstrate that a simple heuristic is able to successfully complete the classification task under a broad range of environmental conditions. Our findings hint at the possibility that complex networks and ecologically efficient rules coevolve over time.

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