Lévy strategies in intermittent search processes are advantageous

Michael A. Lomholt, Tal Koren, Ralf Metzler*, Joseph Klafter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Intermittent search processes switch between local Brownian search events and ballistic relocation phases. We demonstrate analytically and numerically in one dimension that when relocation times are Lévy distributed, resulting in a Lévy walk dynamics, the search process significantly outperforms the previously investigated case of exponentially distributed relocation times: The resulting Lévy walks reduce oversampling and thus further optimize the intermittent search strategy in the critical situation of rare targets. We also show that a searching agent that uses the Lévy strategy is much less sensitive to the target density, which would require considerably less adaptation by the searcher.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11055-11059
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number32
StatePublished - 12 Aug 2008


  • Lévy walk
  • Movement ecology
  • Optimization
  • Random processes

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