Amoeba-based Chaotic Neurocomputing: Combinatorial Optimization by Coupled Biological Oscillators

Masashi Aono, Yoshito Hirata, Masahiko Hara, Kazuyuki Aihara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


We demonstrate a neurocomputing system incorporating an amoeboid unicellular organism, the true slime mold Physarum, known to exhibit rich spatiotemporal oscillatory behavior and sophisticated computational capabilities. Introducing optical feedback applied according to a recurrent neural network model, we induce that the amoeba's photosensitive branches grow or degenerate in a network-patterned chamber in search of an optimal solution to the traveling salesman problem (TSP), where the solution corresponds to the amoeba's stably relaxed configuration (shape), in which its body area is maximized while the risk of being illuminated is minimized.Our system is capable of reaching the optimal solution of the four-city TSP with a high probability. Moreover, our system can find more than one solution, because the amoeba can coordinate its branches' oscillatory movements to perform transitional behavior among multiple stable configurations by spontaneously switching between the stabilizing and destabilizing modes. We show that the optimization capability is attributable to the amoeba's fluctuating oscillatory movements. Applying several surrogate data analyses, we present results suggesting that the amoeba can be characterized as a set of coupled chaotic oscillators.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-157
Number of pages29
JournalNew Generation Computing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Feb 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Chaotic Itinerancy
  • Chaotic Neural Network
  • Coupled Oscillators
  • Multilevel Self-Organization
  • Self-Disciplined Computing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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