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This article is part of the supplement: Proceedings of the 2012 International Conference on Intelligent Computing (ICIC 2012)

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Biomimicry of quorum sensing using bacterial lifecycle model

Ben Niu123*, Hong Wang1, Qiqi Duan1 and Li Li1

Author Affiliations

1 College of Management, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518060, China

2 Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong

3 Hefei Institute of Intelligent Machines, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hefei 230031, China

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BMC Bioinformatics 2013, 14(Suppl 8):S8  doi:10.1186/1471-2105-14-S8-S8

Published: 9 May 2013



Recent microbiologic studies have shown that quorum sensing mechanisms, which serve as one of the fundamental requirements for bacterial survival, exist widely in bacterial intra- and inter-species cell-cell communication. Many simulation models, inspired by the social behavior of natural organisms, are presented to provide new approaches for solving realistic optimization problems. Most of these simulation models follow population-based modelling approaches, where all the individuals are updated according to the same rules. Therefore, it is difficult to maintain the diversity of the population.


In this paper, we present a computational model termed LCM-QS, which simulates the bacterial quorum-sensing (QS) mechanism using an individual-based modelling approach under the framework of Agent-Environment-Rule (AER) scheme, i.e. bacterial lifecycle model (LCM). LCM-QS model can be classified into three main sub-models: chemotaxis with QS sub-model, reproduction and elimination sub-model and migration sub-model. The proposed model is used to not only imitate the bacterial evolution process at the single-cell level, but also concentrate on the study of bacterial macroscopic behaviour. Comparative experiments under four different scenarios have been conducted in an artificial 3-D environment with nutrients and noxious distribution. Detailed study on bacterial chemotatic processes with quorum sensing and without quorum sensing are compared. By using quorum sensing mechanisms, artificial bacteria working together can find the nutrient concentration (or global optimum) quickly in the artificial environment.


Biomimicry of quorum sensing mechanisms using the lifecycle model allows the artificial bacteria endowed with the communication abilities, which are essential to obtain more valuable information to guide their search cooperatively towards the preferred nutrient concentrations. It can also provide an inspiration for designing new swarm intelligence optimization algorithms, which can be used for solving the real-world problems.