With help from robotic fish, researchers at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering are demonstrating how information theory can offer insight into the cause-and-effect relationships between predator and prey in the animal kingdom.
In a paper published in the American Institute of Physics’ Chaos: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Nonlinear Science, the research team led by Maurizio Porfiri, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at NYU Tandon, validated the use of information theory to study predator-prey interactions. Through the use of robotic fish, the research provides a foundation for controlled experiments of causation within such interactions.
“Within a context of two entities—the predator and prey—seeking entirely different outcomes, robotics provides us with a tool for validating the concept of transfer entropy to discover cause-and-effect relationships and to answer certain biological questions,” Porfiri said. “The question we want to ultimately understand is, if we put together a predator and its prey, how they are influencing each other?
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