Emergence at work. Reports TRN:
Drawing heavily on the chemistry of biology, researchers from Humboldt University in Germany have devised a way for electronic agents to efficiently assemble a network without having to rely on a central plan.
The researchers modeled their idea on the methods of insects and other lifeforms whose communications lack central planning, but who manage to form networks when individuals secrete and respond to chemical trails.
The researchers found that what works for ants and bacteria also works for autonomous pieces of computer code. “The idea is inspired by chemotactic models of tracking trail formation widely found in insects, bacteria, [and] slime molds,” said Frank Schweitzer, an associate professor at Humboldt University and a research associate at the Fraunhofer Institute for Autonomous Intelligence Systems (FHG-AIS) in Germany.
The work could eventually be used for self-assembling circuits, groups of coordinated robots and adaptive cancer treatments, according to Schweitzer.
Insect, bacteria and slime mold communities coordinate growth processes based on interactions among chemical trails left behind by individuals. The researchers set up a similar network using a computer simulation of electronic agents moving randomly across a grid containing unconnected network nodes.