Non-mean-field Vicsek-type models for collective behavior

Paolo Buttà, Benjamin Goddard, Thomas Hodgson, Michela Ottobre, Kevin J. Painter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)


We consider interacting particle dynamics with Vicsek-type interactions, and their macroscopic Partial Differential Equation (PDE) limit, in the non-mean-field regime; that is, we consider the case in which each particle/agent in the system interacts only with a prescribed subset of the particles in the system (for example, those within a certain distance). In this non-mean-field regime the influence between agents (i.e. the interaction term) can be normalized either by the total number of agents in the system (global scaling) or by the number of agents with which the particle is effectively interacting (local scaling). We compare the behavior of the globally scaled and the locally scaled systems in many respects, considering for each scaling both the PDE and the corresponding particle model. In particular, we observe that both the locally and globally scaled particle system exhibit pattern formation (i.e. formation of traveling-wave-like solutions) within certain parameter regimes, and generally display similar dynamics. The same is not true of the corresponding PDE models. Indeed, while both PDE models have multiple stationary states, for the globally scaled PDE such (space-homogeneous) equilibria are unstable for certain parameter regimes, with the instability leading to traveling wave solutions, while they are always stable for the locally scaled one, which never produces traveling waves. This observation is based on a careful numerical study of the model, supported by further analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2763-2816
Number of pages54
JournalMathematical Models and Methods in Applied Sciences
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2022


  • Applied Mathematics
  • Modeling and Simulation


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