Best paper award for work on swarmalator systems

Working together in the FWF project “Self-organizing synchronization with stochastic coupling”, Udo Schilcher, Jorge Schmidt, Arke Vogell and Christian Bettstetter co-authored the publication “Swarmalators with stochastic coupling and memory”. This paper won the Karsten Schwan Best Paper Award at the IEEE International Conference on Autonomic Computing and Self-Organising Systems (ACSOS) on 30 September 2021, a prize that recognises the best paper presented at the conference.

The paper investigates and suggests improvements to so-called swarmalator systems. A swarmalator is an entity within a distributed system that combines two types of distributed coordination — collective motion and synchronisation. The reciprocal coupling of these two types of coordination leads to the emergence of spatio-temporal patterns. Researchers at Cornell University proposed a model for systems of this kind a few years ago.

The team of researchers at the Institute of Networked and Embedded Systems in Klagenfurt is focused on application-relevant aspects of these systems. Their proposal involved randomising the exchange of status information between entities and using a small memory unit that allows each element to remember the most recent status updates it has received. They were able to demonstrate that these simple system modifications greatly reduce the effort required when exchanging messages, without compromising the system’s robustness. Other practical aspects, such as the influence of localisation inaccuracies, were also investigated.

The concept of swarmalators can also be applied in robotics and drone systems, as has previously been demonstrated at the University of Klagenfurt (video). Moreover, it can be used for the mathematical modelling of biological and physical systems as well.