Deadlock and Noise in Self-Organized Aggregation Without Computation

Joshua J. Daymude, Noble C. Harasha, Andréa W. Richa, Ryan Yiu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Aggregation is a fundamental behavior for swarm robotics that requires a system to gather together in a compact, connected cluster. In 2014, Gauci et al. proposed a surprising algorithm that reliably achieves swarm aggregation using only a binary line-of-sight sensor and no arithmetic computation or persistent memory. It has been rigorously proven that this algorithm will aggregate one robot to another, but it remained open whether it would always aggregate a system of n> 2 robots as was observed in experiments and simulations. We prove that there exist deadlocked configurations from which this algorithm cannot achieve aggregation for n> 3 robots when the robots’ motion is uniform and deterministic. In practice, however, the physics of collisions and slipping work to the algorithm’s advantage in avoiding deadlock; moreover, we show that the algorithm is robust to small amounts of noise in its sensors and in its motion. Finally, we prove that the algorithm achieves a linear runtime speedup for the n= 2 case when using a cone-of-sight sensor instead of a line-of-sight sensor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationStabilization, Safety, and Security of Distributed Systems - 23rd International Symposium, SSS 2021, Proceedings
EditorsColette Johnen, Elad Michael Schiller, Stefan Schmid
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9783030910808
StatePublished - 2021
Event23rd International Symposium on Stabilization, Safety, and Security of Distributed Systems, SSS 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Nov 17 2021Nov 20 2021

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume13046 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference23rd International Symposium on Stabilization, Safety, and Security of Distributed Systems, SSS 2021
CityVirtual, Online


  • Aggregation
  • Self-organization
  • Swarm robotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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