UCT CS Research Document Archive

Biological Evaluation of Trans-African Highways

Adamatsky, Andrew and Anne V.D.M. Kayem (2011) Biological Evaluation of Trans-African Highways. European Physical Journal (EPJ) Special Issue: Spatially Embedded Complex Networks .

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Abstract

Trans-African highway network is a unique concept of integrated development of transport corridors spanning all African countries and providing landlocked countries access to seaports. The planned road system is still maturing and just partially complete, thus giving us a chance to play different scenarios of its growth and to consider "would-be" alternative transport networks. To study the evolving transport network in the unparalleled continent we adopt a groundbreaking technique of imitating growing transport networks with slime mould Physarum polycephalum. We represent the major urban areas of Africa with a source of nutrients, inoculate a piece of the slime mould in Cairo and allow the mould to span all urban areas with its network of protoplasmic tubes. We then compare the slime mould networks with existing and planned highway corridors, and also analyse the biological and man-made roads in terms of proximity graphs. We found that slime mould provides a good approximation of the Trans-African highway network, with some roads of Eastern Africa delineated by P. polycephalum in a larger number of laboratory experiments. We demonstrate direct matches between protoplasmic tubes and Trans-Sahelian and Lagos-Mombasa corridors and also analyse the bio-logic of transport network development in families of generalised Physarum graphs.

EPrint Type:Journal (On-line/Unpaginated)
Subjects:C Computer Systems Organization: C.3 SPECIAL-PURPOSE AND APPLICATION-BASED SYSTEMS
F Theory of Computation: F.1 COMPUTATION BY ABSTRACT DEVICES
C Computer Systems Organization: C.2 COMPUTER-COMMUNICATION NETWORKS
ID Code:817
Deposited By:Kayem, AVDM
Deposited On:02 November 2012