Collective strategies with a master-slave mechanism dominate in spatial-iterated prisoner’s dilemma

Jiawei Li, Robert Duncan, Jingpeng Li, Ruibin Bai

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review


How cooperation emerges and persists in a population of selfish agents is a fundamental question in evolutionary game theory. The research shows that collective strategies with master-slave mechanism (CSMSM) defeat tit-for-tat and other well-known strategies in spatial iterated prisoner’s dilemma. A CSMSM identifies kin members by means of a handshaking mechanism. If the opponent is identified as non-kin, a CSMSM will always defect. Once two CSMSMs meet, they play master and slave roles. A mater defects and a slave cooperates in order to maximize the master’s payoff. CSMSM outperforms non-collective strategies in spatial IPD even if there is only a small cluster of CSMSMs in the population. The existence and performance of CSMSM in spatial iterated prisoner’s dilemma suggests that cooperation first appears and persists in a group of collective agents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-56
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Swarm Intelligence Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021


  • Collective Behavior
  • Cooperation
  • Evolutionary Game Theory
  • Handshaking
  • Master Slave Mechanism
  • Population-Based Algorithm
  • Prisoner’s Dilemma
  • Simulation
  • Spatial Game
  • Strategic Interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Artificial Intelligence


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