Ants found a prototype Internet

September 3, 2012 15:31

Computer scientists and biologists at Stanford found that the behavior of harvester ants, which produce food, similar to the protocols that control traffic in the Network.

At first glance, the ants and the Internet do not have anything in common. But Stanford researchers found that the ants decide on the number of deportees in search of food workers, about the same as the Internet protocols define the width of the transmission channel. The researchers called this phenomenon "Anternet" (from the English. Ant — ant).

Transmission Control Protocol or TCP — an algorithm that controls the delivery of information on the Internet. When transferring data from a source to a destination in the file is broken up into packets. When B receives the next packet, then sends a confirmation to the package delivered.

This feedback mechanism allows TCP to avoid congestion of information: if the acknowledgment is returned more slowly than was delivered, it is an indicator of low bandwidth and slows down the source of the data transfer. If confirmation come quickly, the source increases the speed of delivery. This process allows you to determine the capacity of the recipient and to optimize it according to the transmission rate.

According to the Global Science, bearded harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex barbatus) behave the same when looking for food. Scientists have found that the number of deportees in search of food the individual work correlates with the amount of food available.

Ants are not returned to the nest as long as they find food. If a lot of grains, the workers returned more quickly and the number of expelled for eating ants increases. But if ants are slowly beginning to return, the number of deported workers reduced or even reduced to zero.

Computer expert from Stanford Balaji Prabhakar wrote an algorithm that predicts the behavior of ants, depending on the amount of food available (bandwidth). It turned out that this algorithm is similar to the TCP almost mirrored the behavior of ants in the course of the experiments.

In addition it was found out that the behavior of ants coincides with two other phases of TCP. The first — phase of exponential growth, or slow start when the source increases the number of bytes to Sending unless received a response.

Another protocol, called time out, takes effect when interference or connection failure, and interrupts the sending of packets. Similarly, when workers do not return to the nest for longer than 20 minutes, the next batch job is not sent.

According to scientists, a new study of ant colonies can improve the state of our networking.

As told biologist Deborah Gordon, there are 11 thousand species of ants living in a variety of conditions and colliding with all existing environmental problems. "Ants evolutionarily trained to solve such problems, which we could not take into account that might be useful in computer systems."

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