Synchronization in Dynamical Networks of Locally Coupled Self-Propelled Oscillators

The emergent cooperative behavior of mobile physical entities exchanging information with their neighborhood has become an important problem across disciplines, thus requiring a general framework to describe such a variety of situations. We introduce a generic model to tackle this problem by considering the synchronization in time-evolving networks generated by the stochastic motion of self-propelled physical interacting units. This framework generalizes previous approaches and brings a unified picture to understand the role played by the network topology, the motion of the agents, and their mutual interaction. This allows us to identify different dynamic regimes where synchronization can be understood from theoretical considerations. While for noninteracting particles, self-propulsion accelerates synchronization, the presence of excluded volume interactions gives rise to a richer scenario, where self-propulsion has a nonmonotonic impact on synchronization. We show that the synchronization of locally coupled mobile oscillators generically proceeds through coarsening, verifying the dynamic scaling hypothesis, with the same scaling laws as the 2D XY model following a quench. Our results shed light into the generic nature of synchronization in time-dependent networks, providing an efficient way to understand more specific situations involving interacting mobile agents.