Physarealm by maajor is a grasshopper plugin for agent-based modelling based on Physarum Polycephalum. It is a stigmergy algorithms similar to ant colony algorithm. Physarum polycephalum, literally the “many-headed slime”, is a slime mold that inhabits shady, cool, moist areas, such as decaying leaves and logs. P. polycephalum is one of the easiest eukaryotic microbes to grow in culture, and has been used as a model organism for many studies involving amoeboid movement and cell motility.
For example, a team of Japanese and Hungarian researchers have shown P. polycephalum can solve the Shortest path problem. When grown in a maze with oatmeal at two spots, P. polycephalum retracts from everywhere in the maze, except the shortest route connecting the two food sources.
English computer scientist Jeff Jones have research into the formation of this fascanating creature. Recently, he published From Pattern Formation to Material Computation. In this book he adopted a synthesis approach and a mobile multi-agent system with very simple individual behaviors employed. The presented model reproduces the biological behavior of Physarum; the formation, growth and minimization of transport networks. Supplementary material can be found here.
Based on Prof. Jones’s Processing program, maajor put it to 3D and wrote this plugin for Rhino/Grasshopper. maajor added some new settings to gain more artistic expression. This plugin comes from maajor design studio at School of Architecture, Tsinghua University.