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Next Generation of Algorithms Inspired by Ants

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the bugs-for-bugs dept.

Math 106

letsurock writes "Ants' capability to find the shortest route through a maze in an hour, and to find the second shortest route when the first path was obstructed, has inspired researchers creating algorithms for the future. From the article: 'Finding the most efficient path through a busy network is a common challenge faced by delivery drivers, telephone routers and engineers. To solve these optimization problems using software, computer scientists have often sought inspiration from ant colonies in nature — creating algorithms that simulate the behavior of ants who find the most efficient routes from their nests to food sources by following each other's volatile pheromone trails. The most widely used of these ant-inspired algorithms is known as Ant Colony Optimization (ACO).'"

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Your official guide to the Jigaboo presidency (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34529764)

Congratulations on your purchase of a brand new nigger! If handled properly, your apeman will give years of valuable, if reluctant, service.

You should install your nigger differently according to whether you have purchased the field or house model. Field niggers work best in a serial configuration, i.e. chained together. Chain your nigger to another nigger immediately after unpacking it, and don't even think about taking that chain off, ever. Many niggers start singing as soon as you put a chain on them. This habit can usually be thrashed out of them if nipped in the bud. House niggers work best as standalone units, but should be hobbled or hamstrung to prevent attempts at escape. At this stage, your nigger can also be given a name. Most owners use the same names over and over, since niggers become confused by too much data. Rufus, Rastus, Remus, Toby, Carslisle, Carlton, Hey-You!-Yes-you!, Yeller, Blackstar, and Sambo are all effective names for your new buck nigger. If your nigger is a ho, it should be called Latrelle, L'Tanya, or Jemima. Some owners call their nigger hoes Latrine for a joke. Pearl, Blossom, and Ivory are also righteous names for nigger hoes. These names go straight over your nigger's head, by the way.

Owing to a design error, your nigger comes equipped with a tongue and vocal chords. Most niggers can master only a few basic human phrases with this apparatus - "muh dick" being the most popular. However, others make barking, yelping, yapping noises and appear to be in some pain, so you should probably call a vet and have him remove your nigger's tongue. Once de-tongued your nigger will be a lot happier - at least, you won't hear it complaining anywhere near as much. Niggers have nothing interesting to say, anyway. Many owners also castrate their niggers for health reasons (yours, mine, and that of women, not the nigger's). This is strongly recommended, and frankly, it's a mystery why this is not done on the boat

Your nigger can be accommodated in cages with stout iron bars. Make sure, however, that the bars are wide enough to push pieces of nigger food through. The rule of thumb is, four niggers per square yard of cage. So a fifteen foot by thirty foot nigger cage can accommodate two hundred niggers. You can site a nigger cage anywhere, even on soft ground. Don't worry about your nigger fashioning makeshift shovels out of odd pieces of wood and digging an escape tunnel under the bars of the cage. Niggers never invented the shovel before and they're not about to now. In any case, your nigger is certainly too lazy to attempt escape. As long as the free food holds out, your nigger is living better than it did in Africa, so it will stay put. Buck niggers and hoe niggers can be safely accommodated in the same cage, as bucks never attempt sex with black hoes.

Your Nigger likes fried chicken, corn bread, and watermelon. You should therefore give it none of these things because its lazy ass almost certainly doesn't deserve it. Instead, feed it on porridge with salt, and creek water. Your nigger will supplement its diet with whatever it finds in the fields, other niggers, etc. Experienced nigger owners sometimes push watermelon slices through the bars of the nigger cage at the end of the day as a treat, but only if all niggers have worked well and nothing has been stolen that day. Mike of the Old Ranch Plantation reports that this last one is a killer, since all niggers steal something almost every single day of their lives. He reports he doesn't have to spend much on free watermelon for his niggers as a result. You should never allow your nigger meal breaks while at work, since if it stops work for more than ten minutes it will need to be retrained. You would be surprised how long it takes to teach a nigger to pick cotton. You really would. Coffee beans? Don't ask. You have no idea.

Niggers are very, very averse to work of any kind. The nigger's most prominent anatomical feature, after all, its oversized buttocks, which have evolved to make it more comfortable for your nigger to sit around all day doing nothing for its entire life. Niggers are often good runners, too, to enable them to sprint quickly in the opposite direction if they see work heading their way. The solution to this is to *dupe* your nigger into working. After installation, encourage it towards the cotton field with blows of a wooden club, fence post, baseball bat, etc., and then tell it that all that cotton belongs to a white man, who won't be back until tomorrow. Your nigger will then frantically compete with the other field niggers to steal as much of that cotton as it can before the white man returns. At the end of the day, return your nigger to its cage and laugh at its stupidity, then repeat the same trick every day indefinitely. Your nigger comes equipped with the standard nigger IQ of 75 and a memory to match, so it will forget this trick overnight. Niggers can start work at around 5am. You should then return to bed and come back at around 10am. Your niggers can then work through until around 10pm or whenever the light fades.

Your nigger enjoys play, like most animals, so you should play with it regularly. A happy smiling nigger works best. Games niggers enjoy include: 1) A good thrashing: every few days, take your nigger's pants down, hang it up by its heels, and have some of your other niggers thrash it with a club or whip. Your nigger will signal its intense enjoyment by shrieking and sobbing. 2) Lynch the nigger: niggers are cheap and there are millions more where yours came from. So every now and then, push the boat out a bit and lynch a nigger.

Lynchings are best done with a rope over the branch of a tree, and niggers just love to be lynched. It makes them feel special. Make your other niggers watch. They'll be so grateful, they'll work harder for a day or two (and then you can lynch another one). 3) Nigger dragging: Tie your nigger by one wrist to the tow bar on the back of suitable vehicle, then drive away at approximately 50mph. Your nigger's shrieks of enjoyment will be heard for miles. It will shriek until it falls apart. To prolong the fun for the nigger, do *NOT* drag him by his feet, as his head comes off too soon. This is painless for the nigger, but spoils the fun. Always wear a seatbelt and never exceed the speed limit. 4) Playing on the PNL: a variation on (2), except you can lynch your nigger out in the fields, thus saving work time. Niggers enjoy this game best if the PNL is operated by a man in a tall white hood. 5) Hunt the nigger: a variation of Hunt the Slipper, but played outdoors, with Dobermans. WARNING: do not let your Dobermans bite a nigger, as they are highly toxic.

Niggers die on average at around 40, which some might say is 40 years too late, but there you go. Most people prefer their niggers dead, in fact. When yours dies, report the license number of the car that did the drive-by shooting of your nigger. The police will collect the nigger and dispose of it for you.

Have it put down, for god's sake. Who needs an uppity nigger? What are we, short of niggers or something?

They all do this. Shorten your nigger's chain so it can't reach any white women, and arm heavily any white women who might go near it.

Not unless it outnumbers you 20 to 1, and even then, it's not likely. If niggers successfully overthrew their owners, they'd have to sort out their own food. This is probably why nigger uprisings were nonexistent (until some fool gave them rights).

Yeah, well, it would. Tell it to shut the fuck up.

A nigger's skin is actually more or less transparent. That brown color you can see is the shit your nigger is full of. This is why some models of nigger are sold as "The Shitskin".

What you have there is a "wigger". Rough crowd. WOW!

They're as common as dog shit and about as valuable. In fact, one of them was President between 1992 and 2000. Put your wigger in a cage with a few hundred genuine niggers and you'll soon find it stops acting like a nigger. However, leave it in the cage and let the niggers dispose of it. The best thing for any wigger is a dose of TNB.

And you were expecting what?

When you came in here, did you see a sign that said "Dead nigger storage"? .That's because there ain't no goddamn sign.

Jews for Nerds! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34530088)

Jews, also known as kikes, hebes, hymies, yids, gold niggers, oven magnets, hook noses, sheenies, swindlers, criminals, "firewood", and Arabs in denial are a subhuman species of reptilian extra-terrestrials and adherents to one of the world's oldest major religions, called "Judaism", otherwise known as "The Worship of Money" or "Eating Arab Babies".

Judaism was the world's first master race theory. The Jew religion teaches that Jews are the Chosen People of God and that there is a sacred mystical quality to Jew DNA. In olden times, Jew prophets would, under the command of YHWH, frequently lead the Jews on genocidal rampages against neighboring populations, and even today Jew leaders often cite Jewish religious ideals to justify their ongoing genocide of sandniggers. Judaism ironically found its mirror-image inversion in the anti-Jew Aryan racialism of the Nazis.

Despite only being 0.22% of the world's population, Jews control 99% of the world's money. Not only do the Jews control the world, but also the media, the banks, the space program, and LiveJournal's porn communities and Gay communities. All Jews possess the following features: an extremely large nose, fake boobs, curly hair that reeks of faggotry, one of those gay hats, a love of coke, a law practice, a roll of money, a small cock, or shitty taste in dental hygiene.

Jews invented both Communism and Capitalism. Karl Marx, of course, was a Jew, which was why he understood money so well, and in fact he was converted to Communism by another Jew, Moses Hess, the actual founder of Zionism, who ghost-wrote Marx's The German Ideology. Capitalism was created when Christian Europeans threw away their morals and decided to embrace Jewish practices like usury (see: John Calvin). Jews were the first group to create a sophisticated banking system, which they used to fund the Crusades in order to pit Christians and Muslims (both adhering to religions derived from and controlled by Jews) against each other to kill as many people as possible in a macabre human sacrifice to YHWH.

The Jew banking system was based on fraud and lies, so when it inevitably collapsed, the Jews just pwned as many people as possible by unleashing the Black Plague on them. Later, Jews economically controlled medieval Venice (the first modern maritime trade empire), and then crypto-Jewish merchants economically controlled the Spanish Empire, including the slave trade. Openly Jewish bankers orchestrated the Dutch Empire and founded Jew Amsterdam (later Jew York). Later the Dutch Jews moved to London because they thought it would be a better base for a global empire, and actually brought a Dutch nobleman, William III, with them, who they installed in a coup d'état (more like Jew d'état, amirite?) as new King of the British Empire. For hundreds of years, Jewish bankers controlled global trade through their bases in Jew York City and London. European colonialism was, through its history, essentially a plot whereby Jews could gain control of gold and diamond mines in poor countries and increase their stranglehold over the global economy.

Jews also enjoy slicing up baby penises for fun, some even enjoy sucking them. See below.

Jews also created Jew search engine Google, so now they can find all Jew information on Internets.

Some suggest that we should use Jews instead of dogs to sniff out large amounts of concealed cash or anything else worth smuggling at airports due to their sensitive Jew noses. Obviously, this is a horrible idea, because the pay is bad, and the dirty Kikes would probably form a union and demand moar money, thus increasing the burden on taxpayers everywhere.

Tag (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34529772)


Oh really? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34529786)

I thought it was called Dykstra's algorithm.

Re:Oh really? (1, Informative)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 3 years ago | (#34529842)

I thought it was called Dijkstra's algorithm.

Fixed that for you

Re:Oh really? (0)

davester666 (731373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34530076)

The algorithm has been renamed in honor of our new overloads, the ants.

Re:Oh really? (0, Redundant)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34530092)

The algorithm has been renamed in honor of our new overloads, the ants.

I for one welcome our new overloaded ant overlords.

Re:Oh really? (3, Informative)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 3 years ago | (#34530124)

"y" is an old, alternative spelling for the Dutch digraph "ij". []

Re:Oh really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34530130)

Yet that doesn't mean that we still use that, so it's still incorrect. His name is Dijkstra.

Re:Oh really? (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34530710)

Yet that doesn't mean that we still use that

"We"? Do you have a mouse in your pocket?:

Re:Oh really? (1)

RancidPeanutOil (607744) | more than 3 years ago | (#34534574)

Funny, yes, but your humor could still unintentionally harm future potential users of the exclusive first-person plural subject pronoun, who might prefer not to use the more general and impersonal "people" or too-subjunctive "one" in certain contexts. Of course, the parent actually seemed to be using the inclusive, as a means to clear up an orthographic disparity from the norm - in which case, your rejoinder has no precedent in grammar humor.

pre-emptive disclaimer here: yes, I am aware that there are [x] grammatical errors in my reply. I'm not a grammar Nazi, I'm a die-hard prescriptivist. I defend subject pronouns (and n-1 object pronouns), especially when they are so useful. And I also love the mouse joke, but I'd be a hypocrite if I used it, so maybe this is just sour grapes.

It's a bit more complicated than that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34530170)

Barring a select few words for which that was actually true in a distant past, the "y" and "ij" are completely different in origin and use.

Re:Oh really? (1)

fatphil (181876) | more than 3 years ago | (#34530494)

And, since the advent of txt-ing, y is a modern alternative spelling for the Dutch ij-digraph.

Re:Oh really? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#34530566)

I'm sure that the TSA agent will be enthralled by your knowledge of ... whatever it is ... when the name on the boarding card doesn't match the one on your passport.

Re:Oh really? (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 3 years ago | (#34534426)

well I'll be damned

AI? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34531114)

Artificial Intelligence, still not as smart as an ant.

Re:Oh really? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34529974)

Anthill inside

Really not new (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34529802)

Ok guys. I did my Ph D on this subject some years ago. ACO was formalized in 1996 (by Marco Dorigo), and the modeling of ants behavior dates back to 1989 (J.-L. Deneubourg). So really nothing new here.

Re:Really not new (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34530038)

Yeah...thank you. Although interesting, not really new. Pretty standard material in an undergraduate operations research course.

Re:Really not new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34530074)

This. Also, there are already many interesting studies about other kind of stigmergic optimization techniques.

Re:Really not new (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34530172)

I hate it when I don't get the respect I deserve. It's been like that for me since I stepped foot on the moon. Mr PhD.

Re:Really not new (1, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 3 years ago | (#34530354)

Yeah, sorry, but what the fuck? Slashdot had a story about the "discovery" of ACO a few months back, there was a similar one a year or two prior also, now it's been "discovered" again? How can something from the 90s be "Next Generation". How many times do we have to have stories on ACO? It's been around so so long, it's taught in undergraduate AI classes across the world.

Perhaps Slashdot needs to create it's own ant inspired algorithm to handle submissions because at least ants probably wouldn't post a story about the same god damn thing all the time.

I'm just waiting for them to "discover" particle swam optimisation or similar so we can have stories discovering that every few months too.

Re:Really not new (2)

Bozzio (183974) | more than 3 years ago | (#34532544)

How can somethimg from the 90s be "Next Generation?"

Um... Star Tek?

Re:Really not new (1)

Bozzio (183974) | more than 3 years ago | (#34532628)

I guess that's what I get for posting from my Kindle.

Re:Really not new (2)

m0interactive (1250788) | more than 3 years ago | (#34530362)

Same here, I implemented an ACO (4 years ago) for finding the shortest path to send media over the internet efficiently. Nothing new... Just Google, it and you will find many people using that approach.

Re:Really not new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34530408)

using real ants?

Re:Really not new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34531574)

Using GoMotion Ants. Parent poster is secretly Rudy Rucker.

Re:Really not new (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34530474)

TFA says "Provided by University of Sydney."

This wasn't a computer science paper, this is a biology paper bublished a few days ago based on an experiment with actual ants. From the paper's abstract:

Contrary to previous studies, our study shows that mass-recruiting ant species such as the Argentine ant can forage effectively in a dynamic environment. Our results also suggest that novel optimisation algorithms can benefit from stronger biological mimicry. []

Re:Really not new (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34532536)

Actually, their paper suggests that biologists should either (a) stick to biology and stay away from mathematical optimization, or (b) at least read about the No Free Lunch theorem in optimization.

Re:Really not new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34531290)

I read the title, and assumed they were saying (The Next Generation of (Algorithms Inspired by Ants)), where someone had come up with some new ACO algorithms.

Re:Really not new (1)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 3 years ago | (#34531652)

And let's not forget about the Bellman-Ford [] algorithm. 1958!

it's the ants! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34534192)

The ants are in it with big government.

Ant algorithms are old (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34529810)

has been done since at least 1992.

Re:Ant algorithms are old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34530506)

Ant algorithms only date to 1992?

The ants have been implementing these algorithms since well over 100 million years ago.

"Anthill Inside" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34529812)

Hex []

Terry Pratchett was right...

Re:"Anthill Inside" (1)

paai (162289) | more than 3 years ago | (#34530114)

I *like* Pratchett, but Salomon came first :-)

Re:"Anthill Inside" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34530308)

But how many know about Salomon compared with "Hex"?

Pratchett gets his stuff from many sources, its just another example of the breadth of his reading/knowledge/whatever. I'm just hoping he can tie up the loose ends before he can't write anymore. The first "Terry Pratchetts Diskworld, in association with X" and I stop buying. Yes, I know he has editorial assistance but Terry derives the plot, the pace and the gags. Once that goes, thats it.

Even if Hex takes over..... :-)

Re:"Anthill Inside" (1)

paai (162289) | more than 3 years ago | (#34530600)

"Terry Pratchetts Diskworld, in association with X" is a possibility that I did not yet even consider. Some things are too horrific even to think about.

But the day that people so completely lost their cultural roots that Salomon is forgotten, will be a black day indeed.

Re:"Anthill Inside" (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 3 years ago | (#34530752)

Science of Discworld series are already a collaboration. And Good Omens wasnt bad, even if not based on Discworld. If well i doubt too that someone else could do something comparable with Pratchett work on Discworld, who knows, maybe someone could. Dune and Foundation had people that continued those series with not very horrible results.

Re:"Anthill Inside" (1)

paai (162289) | more than 3 years ago | (#34532216)

To begin with, a sucessor/collaborator for Pratchett would have to be sixtyish, like Pratchett himself (and yours truly). That is because he draws so heavily from his experiences as an very intelligent observer of the second half of the 20th century, including the fifties and sixties. I *know* that my 25 and 28 years old daughters are Pratchett adepts, and I always wonder in how far they get the allusions, and if not, why they can enjoy the books so much.

You mentioned Good Omens, which certainly is one of the best (and which incidentally depends very much on biblical knowledge), but ithat book certainly is not the result of a slick writer taking over from a dead or retiring author.

Old news? (3, Insightful)

The Dancing Panda (1321121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34529860)

I have a textbook from 4 years ago with this algorithm in it. It was being taught in my Biologically Inspired Computing class.

Re:Old news? (4, Informative)

camperslo (704715) | more than 3 years ago | (#34530128)

Some may laugh at this technology but sniffing the pheromone trails of frat boys may very well be the shortest path to beer.

Re:Old news? (1)

cvnautilus (1793340) | more than 3 years ago | (#34530660)

As well as the shortest path to borderline homosexual behavior.

Re:Old news? (1)

nosferatu1001 (264446) | more than 3 years ago | (#34532798)


Not after a few beers. There is a definite "line" that gets crossed more often than most realise... ;)

Re:Old news? (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34531204)

Sorry to break this to you, but that wasn't pheromone.

Dammit, I know there has to be a pun here! (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#34529862)

"Ant" is one of the most pun-capable words in the English language. Why can't I (or anyone else, apparently) come up with a decent pun on this story?

Re:Dammit, I know there has to be a pun here! (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34529930)

Meh, this story 'ant' so new after all.

How's that?

Re:Dammit, I know there has to be a pun here! (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34529944)

I hope the ant computer will also be usable by Ant Tillie.
This may spur an aunty-computer movement!

Re:Dammit, I know there has to be a pun here! (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34529958)

Damn, I should better proofread when trying puns! I of course meant an anty-computer movement.

Re:Dammit, I know there has to be a pun here! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34529982)

Aunts, ha! I get more inspiration from my grandmother.

Re:Dammit, I know there has to be a pun here! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34529996)

Oh god, no puns. Please don't antagonize the pun gods!

Re:Dammit, I know there has to be a pun here! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34530182)

I don't know why we 'ant come up with a decent pun :(

Re:Dammit, I know there has to be a pun here! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34530278)

All of the pun creators should be banned for indecantcy.

Re:Dammit, I know there has to be a pun here! (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#34530592)

Well when I read the first sentence of the summary I assumed it was about the well known software tool.

But then I ant nevver been good at comprehension, even though I'm an opteramist. I guess we'll have to larva it at that.

Re:Dammit, I know there has to be a pun here! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34530662)

Ant that a bitch !

Re:Dammit, I know there has to be a pun here! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34532564)

you just did

novely? (2)

rackeer (1607869) | more than 3 years ago | (#34529890)

I could be wrong, but shouldn't novely be a criterion for submission? ACO has been used since the early 1990s [] .

Re:novely? (0)

fatphil (181876) | more than 3 years ago | (#34530298)

Shouldn't comprehension be a criterion for posting? Neither the summary nor the article state that ACO is a new discovery. In fact, quite the opposite; there's no possible interpretation of "The most widely used of these ant-inspired algorithms is known as Ant Colony Optimization (ACO)" that leads to a conclusion of "ACO is novel" apart from the ones that also lead to a conclusion of "I'm a retard with poor comprehension skills".

Re:novely? (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#34532974)

But thinking up new stuff is hard. You can just re-publish old work every few years to keep your funding coming, then you have more free time to harass the admin office poppets.

Physicists figured this out in 1930 or so, but computer scientists foolishly kept inventing new things until fairly recently - glad to see we've finally smartened up.

Binary Pheremones (4, Interesting)

Mr Bubble (14652) | more than 3 years ago | (#34529908)

As someone in the comments of TFA pointed out, "The interesting thing here is the 'secondary explore state' (seeming second pheromone state) found by the mathematicians.". So, they basically walk around trailing either a 1 a zero or both. I wonder if it is a single bit at a time like a code that goes along in a track or if it is more diffuse than that.

Its not an algorithm! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34529966)

It's a heuristic!

Re:Its not an algorithm! (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34529990)

So a heuristic algorithm isn't an algorithm?

Re:Its not an algorithm! (2)

fatphil (181876) | more than 3 years ago | (#34530500)

It's not the heuristics that are the problem. If the heuristics may lead to the steps never terminating, then those steps do not define an algorithm. Algorithms must be finite.

Re:Its not an algorithm! (1)

doshell (757915) | more than 3 years ago | (#34532944)

Not only that, but arguably a heuristic cannot be considered an algorithm since it is not guaranteed to solve the problem --- in the same way that most people would not call shuffle sort a sorting algorithm.

Re:Its not an algorithm! (1)

Beezlebub33 (1220368) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533760)

A genetic algorithm is not an algorithm? That doesn't make sense. In fact, most processes where you are searching for a solution to a non-convex problem don't guarantee to 'solve' the problem. As for making in terminate, that's trivial: stop when the last 3 iterations did not improve by more than epsilon.

Further, even solutions to convex problems don't provide the 'answer', but rather a value close to the solution, to some measure epsilon.

Ants inspired by Next Generation of Algorithms (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34529998)

That algorithm is so old soooo a better title would have been "Ants inspired by Next Generation of Algorithms".

Re:Ants inspired by Next Generation of Algorithms (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34530104)

Next Generation of Ants inspired by Algorithms.

Heuristics from nature ... (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#34530000)

In other words someone realized that nature is full of heuristic based problem solving and that perhaps a heuristic that is the result of millions of years of evolution could be pretty good. Not exactly a new idea but the more people who consider this the better.

This is also a variation of the number one lesson of graduate school: go to the "library" and start reading, someone smarter than you has probably thought about your problem already. The "library" is not just academic journals and such but it is also nature.

Re:Heuristics from nature ... (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34530072)

Heuristics and many AI techniques are - in many cases based on nature. This is probably because we see how nature works very well in these cases.

Artificial Neural Networks is 'based' upon how the brain works.
Genetic Algorithms are inspired by evolution
Ant colony optimisations are inspired by ants...

Lets face it, nature has a far more powerful computer than we do.

Re:Heuristics from nature ... (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34530110)

Lets face it, nature has a far more powerful computer than we do.

Obviously. After all, it's able to run all our computers at once in real time besides all that other stuff!

Re:Heuristics from nature ... (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34530464)

Lets face it, nature has a far more powerful computer than we do.

Sure, it's got billions of them loosely networked, and they've been running for billions of years. You'd expect some impressive results to be accumulated.

Scent trails? (1)

formfeed (703859) | more than 3 years ago | (#34530012)

Does this mean IP packets will leave scent trails all over the internet?

Re:Scent trails? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34530060)

great, more pointers. which means more memory leaks.

Good luck (1)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 3 years ago | (#34530176)

I'm behind 7 pheromones.


Ants Anonymous (1, Interesting)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#34530046)

In a more complete Ant networking model: If the source of information "food" the ants crave is threatened the ant "packets" themselves retaliate with the only tool they have, themselves.

Now, if only these network ants could cover their natural foes in stinging, embarrassing, information "bite" marks to warn other ants of their enemies... Oh, right, Wikileaks.

Carry on, our welcome Ant Overlords.

some old tricks still the best, as with Kombucha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34530084)

made at home, it's been doing good stuff for 1000's of years, almost unnoticed. yet another pattern? whatever really works?

Old (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34530090)

Shit's [] old []

I was gonna make another 'old news' comment... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34530096)

I have personally done research using ACO, so I was all ready to point out with the rest of the /. mob that this is nothing new... then I actually RTFA.

Not entirely novel, but TFA is not about ACO. It's about using REAL LIVE ANTS to solve Hanoi.

Bad summaries strike again.

Re:I was gonna make another 'old news' comment... (1)

prxp (1023979) | more than 3 years ago | (#34530120)

You saved me the embarrassment. Thanys too!

Look around you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34530100)


Re:Look around you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34530280)

Why would you post such an awesome on topic joke anonymously? I'm anon because I'm off topic.
Thanks Ants.

Ant's ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34530118)

FFS samzenpus - you can't even get the first word of the summary correct.

OT - fun iOS app for ant behavior (1)

cathector (972646) | more than 3 years ago | (#34530262)

disclosure: i know the author of the app.

"antograph" is a nifty interactive app written by scott snibbe back in 1998 and recently ported to the iDevices.
it's a nice demo of some of the concepts of ant simulation.

Race condition? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34530372)

Previous art (5, Funny)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 3 years ago | (#34530374)

Windows already was based on algorithms based on ants... or maybe other kind of bugs

Re:Previous art (1)

illumastorm (172101) | more than 3 years ago | (#34530402)

They are not bugs, they are undocumented features!

that's nothing (1)

anonymous9991 (1582431) | more than 3 years ago | (#34530516)

put a group of politicians in a maze and tell them to find the money as fast as possible, .................. bingo - best algorithm ever

not efficient (1)

t2t10 (1909766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34530576)

If your solution includes generating an exponentially large graph from a small problem, then you don't have an efficient algorithm for solving the problem, no matter whether you use real ants or simulated ants.

Ant's? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34530702)


Human Readable? (1)

stop bothering me (1221424) | more than 3 years ago | (#34530780)

Isn't this the plot of Human Readable by Cory Doctorow? Human Readable []

Bad example (1)

whereiswaldo (459052) | more than 3 years ago | (#34530868)

Even simple mass-recruiting ants have much more complex and labile problem solving skills than we ever thought

Both solutions to the example maze could be solved by simply favouring left turns whenever possible.
I'd like to see an example that challenges the ants in different ways.

Something to Ponder (1)

dark grep (766587) | more than 3 years ago | (#34530928)

Clearly a rip-off of the work of Ponder Stibbons at UU. The HEX architecture using ants is now well established. Good thing the researchers didn't decide to use chickens - recent history shows that would not end well.

Already Done (1)

Gonoff (88518) | more than 3 years ago | (#34531434)

It's called Hex. Check it up on Wikipedia [] .

Prior Ant Art (1)

trawg (308495) | more than 3 years ago | (#34531670)

Haven't RTFA'd, but I've always been interested in the MUTE project [] ), which is a truly anonymous p2p filesharing system which is based on how ants find food: []

(I've never tried it and it hasn't been updated for a while but it's always sounded cool to me as an anonymous method of filesharing, even though there's obvious issues)

Another handbag , Fashion life (1)

hennyjack (1933170) | more than 3 years ago | (#34531964)

Another handbag , Fashion life [] Balenciaga handbag [] Burberry handbag [] CA handbag [] Cartier handbag [] Chanel handbag [] Chole hanabag [] Coach handbag [] Denslmlql handbag [] DG handbag [] Dior handbag [] Dooney Bourke [] Ed hardy handbag [] Fendi handbag [] Gucci handbag [] Guess handbag [] Hermes Handbag [] Jimmy choo handbag [] Juicy handbag [] Kipling handbag [] Lesportsac handbag [] Locaste handbag [] Longchamp handbag [] LV handbag

Knock knock. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34532112)

Who's there?


Ant who?

Ant you upset no one is working on a dung beetle algorithm...

Terry Pratchett foresaw this (1)

FrankHS (835148) | more than 3 years ago | (#34532482)

Terry Pratchett forsaw this with his hex computer that ran on ants.

The logo was Anthill Inside!

They used bees for long term storage and it was secure. If anyone tried to get into the hive, they would be stung to death!

Ooooold news is ooooold. (1)

RichiH (749257) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533014)

I read about this in Scientific American in the middle of the 90ies. Way to go.

But I hear someone invented trapezoid approximation for calculating the area below curves, recently. If they patented it, we can VC the hell out of that one.

'Not new' isn't the issue. Renouncing thinking is! (1)

Herve5 (879674) | more than 3 years ago | (#34533386)

I see many are underlying these strategies already were identified years ago.
This is true, but indeed, what is important in the present information is that like many others at this time, it reflects an evolution in thinking.

Basically, we won't sit analyzing a problem before proposing a solution.

Maybe we consider we don't have time, maybe we are confident in superfast computing: we throw in some random algorithm (ants everywhere, and then the fastest are detected), and go.
Such an approach indeed was described years ago, but at the time it got no consideration, be it for inefficiency or lack of wit.
Today, it's of the essence.

Sincerely, I fear this is terribly telling about how science is considered today. There is no expectation that someone comes with an idea anymore. We expect, and accept, that some throwing ants at random is a fair way to solve issues. We don't expect anything better.

To me it's really a revolution happening.

Don't misunderstand me: there are real reasons for this approach to work today and not yesterday (computer power, better simulations, whatnot). I'm not saying this is Good and that Bad.
But still, it means there is no special expectation (nor respect?) for Science anymore.
Hope the same won't happen in medicine or philosophy :-/

Thants (2)

FuzzyFox (772046) | more than 3 years ago | (#34534704)

Thanks, Ants.... Thants.
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