Biological Evaluation of Trans-African Highways

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

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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.

Item Type: Journal article (online only)
Subjects: Computer systems organization > Architectures > Other architectures
Theory of computation > Models of computation > Abstract machines
Computer systems organization > Architectures > Distributed architectures
Date Deposited: 02 Nov 2012
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2019 15:33

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