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A Boltzmann model for rod alignment and schooling fish

Journal article
Authors E. Carlen
M. C. Carvalho
P. Degond
Bernt Wennberg
Published in Nonlinearity
Volume 28
Issue 6
Pages 1783-1803
ISSN 0951-7715
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Mathematical Sciences
Pages 1783-1803
Language en
Keywords kinetic equation, equilibrium, swarm
Subject categories Mathematics


We consider a Boltzmann model introduced by Bertin, Droz and Gregoire as a binary interaction model of the Vicsek alignment interaction. This model considers particles lying on the circle. Pairs of particles interact by trying to reach their mid-point (on the circle) up to some noise. We study the equilibria of this Boltzmann model and we rigorously show the existence of a pitchfork bifurcation when a parameter measuring the inverse of the noise intensity crosses a critical threshold. The analysis is carried over rigorously when there are only finitely many non-zero Fourier modes of the noise distribution. In this case, we can show that the critical exponent of the bifurcation is exactly 1/2. In the case of an infinite number of non-zero Fourier modes, a similar behavior can be formally obtained thanks to a method relying on integer partitions first proposed by Ben-Naim and Krapivsky.

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