The Anternet by Deborah Gordon

It seems we need to credit Deborah Gordon as a significant inspiration for the SAFE Network, just take a look at this statement:

“So ant algorithms have to be simple, distributed and scalable – the very qualities that we need in large engineered distributed systems,” she said. “I think as we start understanding more about how species of ants regulate their behavior, we’ll find many more useful applications for network algorithms.”

Hopefully she will continue to be funded.

New BBC Video: Decoding the ‘internet of ants’

Could the way ants behave help us develop the internet – or even understand how cancer spreads?

Deborah Gordon, a biologist at Stanford University, studies ant colonies in the Arizona desert to find how they manage to accomplish complex tasks with no language and no hierarchical leadership system.

She has found out the ants use simple interactions that can be combined to carry out much more complex tasks. Gordon calls this network the ‘anternet’ and believes the way it works could help us understand how information spreads, from how data is transferred over the internet to the workings of our brains.

Working with Harvester ants, Gordon and her colleagues say they have pinpointed a mechanism that determines how many foragers are sent out of the ant nest in much the same way that internet protocols discover how much bandwidth is available for the transfer of data. And the principle could also be used to track how cancer cells spread around the human body.

The Ant Internet

Paper: The Regulation of Ant Colony Foraging Activity without Spatial Information