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Collective Memory: Transposing Pavlov’s Experiment to Robot Swarms

Biological & Artificial Self-Organized Systems Team, Interdisciplinary Center for Nonlinear Phenomena and Complex Systems, Université libre de Bruxelles, Av. F.D. Roosevelt 50, CP231, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Álvaro Gutiérrez
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(6), 2632;
Received: 24 January 2021 / Revised: 6 March 2021 / Accepted: 8 March 2021 / Published: 16 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Swarm Robotics)
Remembering information is a fundamental aspect of cognition present in numerous natural systems. It allows adaptation of the behavior as a function of previously encountered situations. For instance, many living organisms use memory to recall if a given situation incurred a penalty or a reward and rely on that information to avoid or reproduce that situation. In groups, memory is commonly studied in the case where individual members are themselves capable of learning and a few of them hold pieces of information that can be later retrieved for the benefits of the group. Here, we investigate how a group may display memory when the individual members have reactive behaviors and can not learn any information. The well known conditioning experiments of Pavlov illustrate how single animals can memorize stimuli associated with a reward and later trigger a related behavioral response even in the absence of reward. To study and demonstrate collective memory in artificial systems, we get inspiration from the Pavlov experiments and propose a setup tailored for testing our robotic swarm. We devised a novel behavior based on the fundamental process of aggregation with which robots exhibit collective memory. We show that the group is capable of encoding, storing, and retrieving information that is not present at the level of the individuals. View Full-Text
Keywords: collective memory; swarm robotics; swarm intelligence; adaptive complex systems collective memory; swarm robotics; swarm intelligence; adaptive complex systems
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MDPI and ACS Style

Campo, A.; Nicolis, S.C.; Deneubourg, J.-L. Collective Memory: Transposing Pavlov’s Experiment to Robot Swarms. Appl. Sci. 2021, 11, 2632.

AMA Style

Campo A, Nicolis SC, Deneubourg J-L. Collective Memory: Transposing Pavlov’s Experiment to Robot Swarms. Applied Sciences. 2021; 11(6):2632.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Campo, Alexandre, Stamatios C. Nicolis, and Jean-Louis Deneubourg. 2021. "Collective Memory: Transposing Pavlov’s Experiment to Robot Swarms" Applied Sciences 11, no. 6: 2632.

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