Negative updating applied to the best-of- n problem with noisy qualities

SWARM INTELLIGENCE(2021)

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Abstract
The ability to perform well in the presence of noise is an important consideration when evaluating the effectiveness of a collective decision-making framework. Any system deployed for real-world applications will have to perform well in complex and uncertain environments, and a component of this is the limited reliability and accuracy of evidence sources. In particular, in swarm robotics there is an emphasis on small and inexpensive robots which are often equipped with low-cost sensors more prone to suffer from noisy readings. This paper presents an exploratory investigation into the robustness of a negative updating approach to the best-of- n problem which utilises negative feedback from direct pairwise comparison of options and opinion pooling. A site selection task is conducted with a small-scale swarm of five e-puck robots choosing between n=7 options in a semi-virtual environment with varying levels of sensor noise. Simulation experiments are then used to investigate the scalability of the approach. We now vary the swarm size and observe the behaviour as the number of options n increases for different error levels with different pooling regimes. Preliminary results suggest that the approach is robust to noise in the form of noisy sensor readings for even small populations by supporting self-correction within the population.
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Key words
Multi-agent systems, Consensus, Best-of-n decision problem
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