Volume 77, Number 2, January 2007
|Number of page(s)||6|
|Published online||18 January 2007|
Intermittent search processes in disordered medium
Laboratoire de Physique Théorique de la Matière Condensée, UMR CNRS 7600, Université Pierre et Marie Curie - 4 Place Jussieu, 75252 Paris, France
Accepted: 20 November 2006
Intermittent search processes alternate “reacting” phases, during which the searcher slowly explores its domain with a high probability to detect a target, and fast relocation phases which do not allow for target detection. This behavior, commonly observed in many situations, is studied here in the case of a Poisson distribution of targets. It is shown analytically and numerically that intermittency is useful and allows one to minimize the search time. A scaling law holds between the optimal durations of the phases, however with an exponent different from the one obtained previously for a regular distribution of targets. Furthermore, numerical simulations show that the average search time is longer for a Poisson target distribution than for regularly spaced targets. Thus, at least in the present model, order in the target distribution appears to be favorable for optimizing the search efficiency.
PACS: 05.40.Fb – Random walks and Levy flights / 05.40.-a – Fluctuation phenomena, random processes, noise, and Brownian motion / 02.50.-r – Probability theory, stochastic processes, and statistics
© Europhysics Letters Association, 2007
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