Modeling persistence of motion in a crowded environment: The diffusive limit of excluding velocity-jump processes

Enrico Gavagnin, Christian Yates

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Persistence of motion is the tendency of an object to maintain motion in a direction for short time scales without necessarily being biased in any direction in the long term. One of the most appropriate mathematical tools to study this behavior is an agent-based velocity-jump process. In the absence of agent-agent interaction, the mean-field continuum limit of the agent-based model (ABM) gives rise to the well known hyperbolic telegraph equation. When agent-agent interaction is included in the ABM, a strictly advective system of partial differential equations (PDEs) can be derived at the population level. However, no diffusive limit of the ABM has been obtained from such a model. Connecting the microscopic behavior of the ABM to a diffusive macroscopic description is desirable, since it allows the exploration of a wider range of scenarios and establishes a direct connection with commonly used statistical tools of movement analysis. In order to connect the ABM at the population level to a diffusive PDE at the population level, we consider a generalization of the agent-based velocity-jump process on a two-dimensional lattice with three forms of agent interaction. This generalization allows us to take a diffusive limit and obtain a faithful population-level description. We investigate the properties of the model at both the individual and population levels and we elucidate some of the models' key characteristic features. In particular, we show an intrinsic anisotropy inherent to the models and we find evidence of a spontaneous form of aggregation at both the micro- and macroscales.

Original languageEnglish
Article number032416
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2018


  • persistence
  • velocity-jump process
  • exclusion process
  • on-lattice
  • spontaneous aggregation
  • collective behaviour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Cell Biology


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