Thursday, June 6, 2013

1306.1181 (Vladimir V. Palyulin et al.)

Searching with and against the stream: Levy or Brown?    [PDF]

Vladimir V. Palyulin, Aleksei V. Chechkin, Ralf Metzler
We study the efficiency of search processes based on Levy flights (LFs) with power-law distributed jump lengths in the presence of an external drift. While LFs turn out to be efficient search processes when relative to the starting point the target is upstream, in the downstream scenario regular Brownian motion turns out to be advantageous. This is caused by the occurrence of leapovers of LFs, due to which LFs typically overshoot a point in space. We establish criteria when the combination of the external stream and the initial distance between the starting point and the target favors LFs over regular Brownian search. Contrary to the common belief that LFs with a stable index alpha=1 are optimal, we find that the optimal alpha may range in the entire interval (1,2) and even include Brownian motion as the overall most efficient search strategy.
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