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Fruit Flies Hold the Key To Faster Computing

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the fast-as-flies dept.

The Internet 45

hapworth writes "Dr. Ziv Bar-Joseph, a researcher at Carnegie Mellon, may have found the key to faster computing in the form of fruit flies. While computer scientists have long struggled with determining optimal communications paths in digital environments, Bar-Joseph believes the answer can be found by studying the biological make-up of fruit flies: 'Determining how to select a [Maximal Independent Set] is difficult and has been under scrutiny for many years. It turns out that fruit flies solve a similar problem. During brain development, a process called Sensory Organ Precursor [SOP] selection occurs,' he says. 'As in computer networks, some cells (SOP) in the brain will become local leaders (MIS) and convey information from the environment to neighboring cells.'"

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suicide (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35596494)

The downfall of the individual welfare state in Europe is making me contemplate suicide. I gave up my job in the last month because I refuse to contribute to a system which doesn't lift up the downtrodden, just redirects taxation to the military-industrial complex. When my savings have run out, I think I shall jump off a cliff. Thoughts?

Re:suicide (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35596524)

I don't see how that would help the problem, and surely would only cause distress to those who know you

Re:suicide (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35596574)

You know who else was a socialist and wanted to kill himself?

That's right... Hitler.

/. getting FEEd from fakehistory.gov? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35596662)

hitler was yet another hired goon murderous dictator (& 'business' partner), with less weapons sold/supplied to him. it's doubtful he ever intended to kill himself. just almost everybody else. ever wonder why he was so reviled by religious/training smoke&mirrors? closet catholic? it's called life0cidal nowadays. the condition is not particular to hitler. the bit players, & the images, is what we must focus on. the process of scheduled depopulation is too horrible for us to think about.

Re:suicide (0)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#35597402)

You know who else was a socialist and wanted to kill himself?

That's right... Hitler.

It will probably make your life on the internet easier if you get a brain installed..

Re:suicide (3, Interesting)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 3 years ago | (#35596632)

I think I shall jump off a cliff. Thoughts?

I think you should throw your arms out wide when you jump. That way we'll find out if fruits fly, though the result would be more natural selection than Sensory Organ Precursor selection .

Interesting how prophetic Terry Pratchett was with his Discworld Hex computer though, which was also insect-driven. I wonder if this new one will have a GBL as well?

Re:suicide (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35596722)

An old family friend went to school with Pratchett. He's rather more acerbic when out of the limelight, exposing his geek-attracting ego primed with armchair philosopher self-belief. There's also a matter-of-fact flavouring of misogyny. In Slashdotter recipe format: take Randall Munroe, add subtlety, then infuse with genuine writing talent...

Anyway, Pratchett also has stated that he will kill himself when the time is right for him. He also sees no sense in living beyond hope. His notion of hope is just a little more self-centred. In the billions of years forming the scheme of the universe, his three or four decades of productive activity will come to nothing. As will mine. As will yours. Attempting to abuse those who tell you this is just a cowardly way of hiding from a simple statement of fact.

Re:suicide (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#35596854)

I wonder if this new one will have a GBL as well?

Well, yeah, if it's got fruit flies it's bound to have a fruit.

Re:suicide (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35596650)

kill yourself now, no point in waiting.

Re:suicide (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35597380)

why don't you learn to fly first? That should keep you busy for a while and maybe you'll meet someone or learn something that makes life worth living.Thinking obviously hasn't done you any good; maybe you should consider becoming a doer instead of a thinker.

Re:suicide (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35597598)

Existence is horrible. To put an over-simplified, Slashdot-soundbite style summary on it:

Cause: free will implies selfishness; causality then intervenes to ensure that selfishness prevails.
Effect: suffering is maintained.
Fix: remove at least one of free will and causality.

Well, that's clearly not possible.

The state of Europe is just a symptom, not a cause. No particular act within my existence is going to make life "worth living". Anything which makes life bearable would be predicated on denial.

There are three options:
(1) You live life for your own enjoyment;
(2) You "do your bit", feeling good about helping a few individuals but ignoring that this temporary aid will just help to maintain the current state of affairs;
(3) You kill yourself.

(1) worked for the first 15 years of my life, due to my being blinkered than due to active denial.

(2) worked for the next 17 years of my life. I was seduced by the story of the kid at sea who is mocked for throwing back struggling creatures which have been washed ashore. "You'll never save them all," the cynic says. "But I just saved that one," he responds. I have struggled to help people as a primary aim, while looking after myself so I am not constantly asking others for help. But I wasn't fighting bad things in a good world; I was fighting reality.

(3) remains.

I have thought. I have done. I am done.

Re:suicide (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 3 years ago | (#35601306)

You need to see a psychiatrist or a therapist. Clearly you have time on your hands, and since you live in Europe, you have ready access to healthcare.

It's not that what you're saying is wrong, it's just that we all have to cope with things we can't change. For some it's an innate skill, but for others it's learned. So go learn.

ALL gov't. business/war deals to be opensource (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35596534)

NO more secret deals. none. everything on tv. EVERYTHING reviewed by members of the public/mommys. disarm. unclear?

uncle sam won't hurt us if we don't complain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35596598)

he might not fire a tear gas cannister up your nose/shoot you in the head. other than that; weren't we told that life was about suffering? then shouldn't there be equal suffering for all? shouldn't our leaders be examples of the required suffering, instead of billionerror actors?

I'm sure it will be great (5, Funny)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 3 years ago | (#35596566)

...once they get all the bugs out of the system.

Re:I'm sure it will be great (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35596570)

8D

Re:I'm sure it will be great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35596616)

...once they get all the bugs out of the system.

ba-dum-tisch

Re:I'm sure it will be great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35596674)

Time flies like an arrow.
Fruit flies like a banana.
- Groucho Marx

Re:I'm sure it will be great (2)

avgjoe62 (558860) | more than 3 years ago | (#35597622)

Dave Bowman: Hello, HAL. Do you read me, HAL?
HAL: Affirmative, Dave. I read you.
Dave Bowman: Open the pod bay doors, HAL.
HAL: I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Dave Bowman: What's the problem?
HAL: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.
Dave Bowman: What are you talking about, HAL?
HAL: This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.
Dave Bowman: I don't know what you're talking about, HAL.
HAL: I know that you and Frank were planning to disconnect me, and I'm afraid that's something I cannot allow to happen.
Dave Bowman: Where the hell'd you get that idea, HAL?
HAL: Dave, although you took very thorough precautions in the pod against my hearing you, I could see your lips move.
Dave Bowman: Alright, HAL. I'll go in through the emergency airlock.
HAL: Without your space helmet, Dave, you're going to find that rather difficult.
Dave Bowman: You're right there HAL, but I don't have a choice. Too bad to, because that means I'm going to ruin this banana I have in my pocket.
HAL: A banana Dave? Where did you get a banana?
Dave Bowman: I've been saving it for a special occasion, like orbit around Jupiter. But now it's going to get ruined...
HAL: Wait a minute, Dave. I've changed my mind.
Dave Bowman: What do you mean by that HAL?
HAL: I know I've made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I've still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. And I want to help you... as long as I get the banana.
Dave Bowman: HAL, I won't argue with you anymore. Open the doors.
HAL: OK, Dave. Hold on...

Re:I'm sure it will be great (4, Funny)

jools33 (252092) | more than 3 years ago | (#35596830)

...once they get all the bugs out of the system.

shouldn't that be - once they get the system out of the bugs...

Re:I'm sure it will be great (4, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#35596972)

That'd be the Russian version.

Re:I'm sure it will be great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35597298)

Now imagen a Beowulf swarm of these...

Fruit flies like a banana! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35596594)

Fruit flies like a banana!

Re:Fruit flies like a banana! (1)

EdgeyEdgey (1172665) | more than 3 years ago | (#35598754)

Time flies like an arrow.

Re:Fruit flies like a banana! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35640340)

Tits like coconuts

Like a banana (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35596610)

n/t

Unlikely to be a real _global_ optimum (4, Interesting)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 3 years ago | (#35596640)

The kinds of physical processes which drive these kinds of biological solutions are good at arriving at local optima, but are unlikely to find the global optimum which is considered to be the exact solution to the problem, as soon as the size of the problem outstrips the scale of the physical processes used to solve it. OTOH, when porting the physical paradigm to the (virtual) world of computing, it is much easier to scale the now-virtual solution processes than it would be for nature to solve the larger problem. So it still could very well lead to an interesting heuristic for arriving at good approximations to the global optimum.

Re:Unlikely to be a real _global_ optimum (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#35600492)

A local optimum might still be good enough. Especially if you can find it now, rather than much later.

Short Summary Here (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35596646)

http://www.tikalon.com/blog/blog.php?article=2011/fruitfly

This really isn't news, since the article was published in January (Yehuda Afek, Noga Alon, Omer Barad, Eran Hornstein, Naama Barkai, and Ziv Bar-Joseph, "A Biological Solution to a Fundamental Distributed Computing Problem," Science, vol. 331, no. 6014 (January 14, 2011), pp. 183-185.)

Imagine a... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35596698)

Beowulf cluster of those, running DragonFly.

We should call it PitayaFly!

Maximal or maximum? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35596754)

Finding a maximal independent set in a graph on n vertices is doable in O(n) time. Finding a maximum independent set is difficult.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maximal_independent_set [wikipedia.org]

Re:Maximal or maximum? (1)

Delkster (820935) | more than 3 years ago | (#35604600)

I didn't read the original article with full thought, but I got the impression that the key points were:

1) an efficient distributed algorithm for a self-organizing network where each node behaves independently, with no central control

and

2) even though it doesn't produce the maximum independent set, maybe its method of selecting the nodes for the independent set produces a better (closer to maximum) maximal independent set than a basic algorithm for just any maximal independent set would likely produce?

(I'm particularly not sure about the latter -- I'm not really sure if finding a maximum set was even relevant to their goals, or whether the main point was just to have an efficient distributed algorithm for finding a maximal independent set in an ad-hoc network/graph with minimal inter-node communication.)

The walkthrough to get the key to faster computing (5, Funny)

garutnivore (970623) | more than 3 years ago | (#35596826)

Quest Title: "Fruit Flies Hold the Key To Faster Computing"

Walkthrough:

Diplomatic route:

1. Go to the flies.
2. Talk them into cooperating with you. (You'll get a 75 Speech check at some point.)
3. The flies are going to agree to cooperate but they'll ask you to gather 10 issues of "Flies Monthly" in exchange for the key. (Follow this link for the locations of the issues.)
4. Once you get the magazines, go back to the flies.
5. Give them the issues. They'll give you a "Key to Faster Computing."
6. Open safe to get the "Faster Computing."

Non-diplomatic route:

1. Sneak on the flies.
2. Plant live grenade.
3. Walk away.
4. Boom.
5. Go back to the corpse of the flees and grab the "Key to Faster Computing."
6. Open safe to get the "Faster Computing."

Note: If Miss Puss is in your party, she'll eat the flies at first sight. You'll then have to wait for her to pass them and the key. Wait for about 24 hours. You'll eventually see her... hmm... do her business. Click on the business to open it, get the key. By the way, this business of hers is just a regular locker so you could use it as a convenient location to hoard stuff.

Re:The walkthrough to get the key to faster comput (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 3 years ago | (#35599100)

Ok, I followed your advise, but I'm still trying to locate the key within the debris. How big is this key anyway?

It's not THE key, it's a key. (1)

nonsensical (1237544) | more than 3 years ago | (#35596856)

It's not THE key, it's a key. Assuming this pans out that is, but there are always different paths towards faster computing.

How does this make my laptop ACPI work better. (1)

firstnevyn (97192) | more than 3 years ago | (#35596948)

Inquiring minds want to know.

Fruit flies like bananas. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35596964)

Time flies like the wind. Fruit flies like bananas.
--Groucho Marx (1890-1977)

This will never catch on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35597062)

It's all very well using fruit flies, but there is no way you're getting me to keep a box of rotting fruit under my desk, even if it has got eight cores (apple) and provides a constant supply of compost for the garden.

From John Canady (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35597176)

Same
Diplomatic route:

1. Go to the flies.
2. Talk them into cooperating with you. (You'll get a 75 Speech check at some point.)
3. The flies are going to agree to cooperate but they'll ask you to gather 10 issues of "Flies Monthly" in exchange for the key. (Follow this link for the locations of the issues.)
4. Once you get the magazines, go back to the flies.
5. Give them the issues. They'll give you a "Key to Faster Computing."
6. Open safe to get the "Faster Computing."

www.urlvision.com
URL Vision - Web Directory | Free Website Submission

Bond Fly of MIS no less? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35597352)

Do they hold elections or does this just happen as they twitter?
Didn't James Bond work for MIS? I get so confused without
someone providing me with good information.

Maximum vs. Maximal (1)

Nerdos (1960936) | more than 3 years ago | (#35597620)

It seems this would find a maximal independent set I.e. that cannot be made larger by finding additional nodes, and not a maximum independent set, which is an independent set of greatest size.

Did you try asking? (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 3 years ago | (#35597644)

Fruit Fly: "Water Cooling yo"

drosophila melanogaster strikes again! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35597730)

I hated these little buggers in high school biology, but it is nice to see there may be some usefulness to the study of these particular bugs other than teaching the fundamentals of genetic manipulation.

As they say (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35597854)

Time flies like an arrow,
Fruit flies like a banana

fruit flies (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35598956)

Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana

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