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Stanford Researchers Discover the 'Anternet'

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the ant-power dept.

Math 133

stoilis writes "A collaboration between Deborah Gordon, a Stanford ant biologist, and Balaji Prabhakar, a computer scientist, has revealed that the behavior of harvester ants, as they forage for food, mirrors the protocols that control traffic on the Internet. From the article: 'Prabhakar wrote an ant algorithm to predict foraging behavior depending on the amount of food – i.e., bandwidth – available. Gordon's experiments manipulate the rate of forager return. Working with Stanford student Katie Dektar, they found that the TCP-influenced algorithm almost exactly matched the ant behavior found in Gordon's experiments. "Ants have discovered an algorithm that we know well, and they've been doing it for millions of years," Prabhakar said.' The abstract is published in the Aug. 23 issue of PLoS Computational Biology."

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Happy Monday from the Golden Girls! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41136307)

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true, you're a pal and a cosmonaut.

And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you knew
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say, thank you for being a friend.

Re:Happy Monday from the Golden Girls! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41136361)

This spam post doesn't even have a link, who can possibly benefit from this weekly spam post and how?

Re:Happy Monday from the Golden Girls! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41136397)

Just knowning it irks you is payment enough. Thank you for being a friend!

Is how I suppose the thinking goes. Me, I've been here for decades and I've not seen that one before.

Re:Happy Monday from the Golden Girls! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41137503)

You haven't been paying much attention in those "decades" (was /. around in 1992? alternate timeline?), it's been pretty common the past couple years, though I'm not sure when it started.

The principle it operates on is the classic correction-bait troll -- it says "cosmonaut" where it should say "confidant" -- and it used to be pretty damn effective, often getting two or three suckers correcting it. These days, I think everyone who knows the correct lyrics knows it's a troll, and thus doesn't feed it.

Re:Happy Monday from the Golden Girls! (0)

OakDragon (885217) | more than 2 years ago | (#41136523)

I'm gonna start modding it up.

Re:Happy Monday from the Golden Girls! (2)

mbc2000 (886849) | more than 2 years ago | (#41136795)

Happy Monday

I follow the Discordian calendar, you insensitive clod! Today is Prickle-Prickle.

Re:Happy Monday from the Golden Girls! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41137333)

I follow the Mayan calendar, you insensitive clod! Today is minus 115 days.

Re:Happy Monday from the Golden Girls! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41138437)

i see what you did there

Re:Happy Monday from the Golden Girls! (2)

History's Coming To (1059484) | more than 2 years ago | (#41137801)

Prickle-Prickle, the 20th day of Bureaucracy in the YOLD 3178 to be precise. (For those who haven't, try 'ddate' on any *nix system...)

not new... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41136309)

They have known this for years. In fact some of the original researched used ant farms to do this...

Interesting rediscovery...

Re:not new... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41136329)

That doesn't change the fact the the abortion issue has lost this election for the Republicans. They will not win the White House, and have now lost their chances of taking the Senate due to their medieval view on women's issues. Congratulations.

Re:not new... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41136453)

It's the economy, stupid.

Re:not new... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41136473)

Loose lips sink ships.

Re:not new... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41136625)

She could suck the chrome off a trailer hitch.

Re:not new... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41137275)

If the Republicans ever dropped their anti-abortion stance then within 2 election cycles they would loose the religious right.

Re:not new... (1)

NEDHead (1651195) | more than 2 years ago | (#41137303)

That would be a good first step

Re:not new... (0)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 2 years ago | (#41138857)

And Democrats would lose one of their most powerful ploys to pull their base toghether. Just try to talk to a progressive democrat about Ron Paul and all you hear about is abortion rights, and how he votes against funding Planned Parenthood etc etc.... they don't even get that he votes against everything.

Abortion is a big silly issue. Its a 50/50 split in popular polls, and the arguments for why it should remain legal are quite strong from a constitutional perspective (if you don't know why the life of the mother and due process are intimately intertwined then you should really go read roe)

So in the end...its a big settled issue thats going to go nowhere at all. If the GOP stopped pretending, then it would go away and reduce stability on both sides...which would be a good thing.

Re:not new... (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#41139103)

Funny how pro-"it's my body and my right" abortionists are anti-marijuana, anti-freedom-to-choose your own health insurance, and so on.

BACK TO ANTS: It's a false conclusion to say they have been using a distibuted network "for millions of years". That is a random guess. For all we know they just discovered this method in the last 1000 years, and were using some other organization prior to that.

Re:not new... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41136549)

I guess this verifies that the first ant invasion I experienced at a picnic was really a denial of service attack.

Then there is the matter of time-to-live propagation issues. Do the ants that wander off never to return die of hunger, get eaten, or become political refugees at another colony?

Are the strange experiments with small frequency differences between regions of the power grid somehow tied to some conspiracy to mess with time references between people's machines, perhaps to kill traffic by messing with time-to-live handling, or perhaps identify where packets are from even when their addresses are invalid?

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2011-06-24-power-grid-appliances-electronics_n.htm [usatoday.com]

Bug spray, anteaters, fire-ants and cars are missing from the story analogy.

Re:not new... (2)

plover (150551) | more than 2 years ago | (#41138891)

Bug spray would be censorship, denying all traffic along that route. Anteaters would be like IDP appliances, zapping some packets it thinks are suspicious (or tasty.) Fire ants would be a DDoS attack. And cars would be like a congested router, wiping out packets indiscriminately.

They said the same thing about fungi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41136319)

http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/are-fungi-earths-natural-internet

news? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41136343)

ummm.... I do believe there were some seminal works during the pre-BT days regarding ant routing -- http://mute-net.sourceforge.net/howAnts.shtml.

while that has more to do with routing than congestion avoidance, I would hope that your average network engineer knows that ants have the EEs beaten cold.

Re:news? (1)

Marc Madness (2205586) | more than 2 years ago | (#41139707)

I had the same initial thought that you did. However, I didn't realize that harvester ants do not rely on pheremones which makes their approach slightly different than the typical Ant-Colony Optimization algorithms (which have been applied to routing). It would be interesting to know how the harvester ants communicate geographic information when they touch thier antennae. Something that may be revealed once I have the chance to read the rest of the article (beyond the abstract).

Has to be done (4, Funny)

paiute (550198) | more than 2 years ago | (#41136367)

Formic post!

Re:Has to be done (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41136389)

Somebody call Al Gore.

Re:Has to be done (1)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 2 years ago | (#41136451)

Actually, I think Terry Pratchett has first dibs [wikipedia.org] on this one.

Re:Has to be done (1)

History's Coming To (1059484) | more than 2 years ago | (#41137767)

Dammit, there was me going for the Anthill Inside gag. Well played!

Incidentally, there's an algorithm for finding quick solutions to the Travelling Salesman problem called Ant Colony Optimisation, because ants follow a chemical trail which fades with time the shortest routes will have the highest concentration of the chemical, and therefore ants. It's not a mathematically rigorous way to find the shortest solution, but it's a good starting point.

Re:Has to be done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41137851)

did he beat out Orson Scott Card [wikipedia.org] ?

How close? (4, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#41136383)

the TCP-influenced algorithm almost exactly matched the ant behavior

How close?

They talking about a full implementation of RFC 5681 with all 4 schemes and all the bells and whistles, or just some trendy popular science stuff with "well, there seems to be ACKs".

http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc5681 [ietf.org] (not a rickroll, I promise)

I suppose a RFC 5681 loss recovery mechanism would be something like what happens when you step on an ant. ssthresh TCP setting is like how many ants fit thru the hole at once when you agitate the colony with a stick? We could probably have a lot of fun doing "official slashdot ant analogies" instead of the more common "official slashdot car analogies"

All fine and good... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41136463)

...but the anternet is still a really buggy network

Re:All fine and good... (5, Funny)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#41138317)

I also think in this case using RAID will not help protect your data.

Re:How close? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41136581)

Not a full implementation with all bells and whistles. Ever seen an ant with a bell?
But close enough to be considered 'prior art' to anyone trying to patent this...

Re:How close? (4, Funny)

N0Man74 (1620447) | more than 2 years ago | (#41136899)

How close?

If only there were some way to know... such as reading the damned article.

Re:How close? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#41139589)

How close?

If only there were some way to know... such as reading the damned article.

I'm scared of bugs, OK ! Nobody visits slashdot to hear me scream like a little girl. Well, not most of you.

Re:How close? (2)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 2 years ago | (#41137087)

the TCP-influenced algorithm almost exactly matched the ant behavior

How close?

Here's an idea, why don't you RTFA yourself and find out? I don't understand how you were modded insightful if you could not be bothered to read the actual article.

Re:How close? (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 2 years ago | (#41137555)

You must be new here.

Re:How close? (1)

Asmodae (1155077) | more than 2 years ago | (#41138503)

You raise some good points. Here, try this article. [stanford.edu] Surprisingly it addresses the points in the summary quite well.

Anthill Inside (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41136393)

+++Out Of Cheese Error ???????+++ Redo from Start

Re:Anthill Inside (2)

Eraesr (1629799) | more than 2 years ago | (#41136705)

I knew there had to be AT LEAST one other person making the link between this article and Discworld :-)

Anybody see the problem with this statement? (5, Insightful)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | more than 2 years ago | (#41136407)

"Ants have discovered an algorithm that we know well, and they've been doing it for millions of years," Prabhakar said.

Does anybody else see the problem with this statement?

I think it would have been better said "We have discovered an algorithm that ant know well."

Re:Anybody see the problem with this statement? (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#41136489)

I think it would have been better said "We have discovered an algorithm that ant know well."

Arguably, unless 'knowing' is something that you can do with substantially less nervous system than we expect, it might be more apt to think of ants as being capable of executing an algorithm, rather than 'knowing' it. By way of example, even children who haven't had a day of math in their lives, and are totally ignorant of the physics describing the trajectories of objects near the earth's surface can still catch a ball you toss to them most of the time(and sending them off to physics class is hardly the most efficient way of improving their performance...)

Re:Anybody see the problem with this statement? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41136609)

Arguably, unless 'knowing' is something that you can do with substantially less nervous system than we expect, it might be more apt to think of ants as being capable of executing an algorithm, rather than 'knowing' it.

The ant executes the algorithm. The colony knows the algorithm. (It's embedded in the colony's firmware, implemented in ants. Just as the sort of real-time calculus required to catch a ball is embedded in primate DNA, implemented in neurons.)

Re:Anybody see the problem with this statement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41137441)

I would think that throwing is much more embedded in our DNA than catching.

Re:Anybody see the problem with this statement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41137013)

Look-up table and interpolation?

Did You Forget We're At War? (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#41136503)

I think it would have been better said "We have discovered an algorithm that ant know well."

Obviously you're a pro-Formic shill. The International Fleet will not tolerate this kind of sympathy. Your post has been reported to Commander Hyrum Graff!

Re:Anybody see the problem with this statement? (4, Insightful)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#41136839)

"Ants have discovered an algorithm that we know well, and they've been doing it for millions of years," Prabhakar said.

Does anybody else see the problem with this statement?

To be fair, the ants implemented the algorithm first, ergo: Nature discovered it first. Or, if you'd rather not personify the cosmos: Such protocols are naturally emergent.

Most of what we're now learning and formalizing was discovered by nature millions of years ago. Slime molds can solve traffic patterns too. Pine cones "know" the Fibonacci sequence (at an intimate level). Fast Fourier Transforms are how our brains filter signals for certain kinds of pattern recognition. Holograms are macro scale demonstrations of reality at the quantum level. Neural networks can think (well duh). Life, as we know it, is merely a fractal expansion of DNA.

Re:Anybody see the problem with this statement? (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#41137117)

THAT is what you see as a problem? Not the gaping triviality of their "discovery"? The wider the bandwidth, the more you can send?

That's what I am talking about when commenting on another article at today's ./:

http://science.slashdot.org/story/12/08/26/2330217/the-sweet-mystery-of-science [slashdot.org]

We know almost everything we can possibly scientifically know, adding here that logical result of this gnoseological cul-de-sac is abundance of "scientific" articles about nothing.

Re:Anybody see the problem with this statement? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#41139345)

Their discovery is rather than the ants also know that, and know how to optimally discover these conditions and adapt to them.

And, no, we don't know "almost everything". If we did, we wouldn't be building things like LHC.

Re:Anybody see the problem with this statement? (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#41139709)

bq. And, no, we don't know "almost everything". If we did, we wouldn't be building things like LHC.

I do not see a contradiction here. LHC is for what is left when you subtract "almost" from "all".

Re:Anybody see the problem with this statement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41137619)

"Ants have discovered an algorithm that we know well, and they've been doing it for millions of years," Prabhakar said.

Does anybody else see the problem with this statement?

Yes, I do see the problem with that statement. We have no way to know they've been doing it for millions of years. All we know is that they are doing it now. I suspect what actually happened is that some of the antz working around the Disney-Dreamworks studios' render farm first made the realization about the usefulness of the TCP protocols and began adopting the algorithms for themselves and their colonies.

Re:Anybody see the problem with this statement? (4, Funny)

InlawBiker (1124825) | more than 2 years ago | (#41137627)

Now you're just arguing semANTics.

Re:Anybody see the problem with this statement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41139045)

I think it would have been better said "We have discovered an algorithm that ant know well."

Sure Yoda, whatever you say. Hint: ants know while an ant knows.

Re:Anybody see the problem with this statement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41139479)

"I think it would have been better said "We have discovered an algorithm that ant know well."

Careful, there maybe patants.

Throttling bandwidth (3, Funny)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#41136409)

I suppose an anteater is used to stop ant torrents. Or would that be a DOS attack?

Re:Throttling bandwidth (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#41136601)

They will just route around the damage.

Re:Throttling bandwidth (1)

fa2k (881632) | more than 2 years ago | (#41136811)

We'll have a new series of Comcast-branded pest control products which work by sending spoofed ants with the RST bit set.

Anthill inside (4, Funny)

Jade_Wayfarer (1741180) | more than 2 years ago | (#41136423)

And yet again, Sir Terry Pratchett is making me speechless with his insights. Now, it's almost like something is taking its pleasure in making a real-life citations from his books.

My algorithm (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#41136439)

is THC - influenced.

Re:My algorithm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41137999)

You must not get a lot done with that algorithm.

Thankfully... (5, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#41136441)

Ants may have discovered TCP; but they are ignorant of the secret of aggressive litigation...

Re:Thankfully... (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 2 years ago | (#41137473)

I'd still like to see a queen ant standing behind a mic stand with Gloria Alred; shaking their fists at the sexist men who ripped off her ideas.

Re:Thankfully... (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 2 years ago | (#41139069)

Ants may have discovered TCP; but they are ignorant of the secret of aggressive litigation...

Litigation to protect their IP?

won't be long now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41136483)

I, for one, welcome our new ant overlords

Re:won't be long now... (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 2 years ago | (#41139021)

I, for one, welcome our new ant overlords

A pro Forma post. Look at the ant shill.

Bah (3, Funny)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 2 years ago | (#41136529)

They may have invented TCP/IP, but not "on a computer". So I call this prior art invalid.

Ant-DOS (1)

nomad-9 (1423689) | more than 2 years ago | (#41136541)

...And some (i.e the army ants) also practice a form of Denial of Service Attacks when they carry out massive raids over a specific area, denying food for other colonies.

They also wage wars of annihilation where weaker colonies are wiped out. But that's another story and the algorithm is way simpler.

Ants, IT and drones (1)

malcus (225346) | more than 2 years ago | (#41136557)

Daniel Suarez - Kill Decision... way more disturbing than Sir Pratchett...

What's all the excitement (2)

smitty97 (995791) | more than 2 years ago | (#41136559)

This one really is just a series of tubes

Apple is gonna sue them... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41136619)

TheGreatSteve has a patent on TCP.

Well (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41136623)

I, for once, welcome this powerful tactical insight to rebel against our new insect overlords.

Common sense? (4, Insightful)

kgskgs (938843) | more than 2 years ago | (#41136645)

I honestly didn't see a lot of substance here.

Instead of saying ants use TCP, I would say ants and TCP both use common sense.

When I apply for jobs, I contact friends in my network. If someone gets back to me faster, I reply back faster and send my resume to them quickly. Does that mean I am following TCP/IP?

Re:Common sense? (2)

tippe (1136385) | more than 2 years ago | (#41137051)

Agreed. It's the same with kids and popsicles. If one kid enters a room with a popsicle, one or a few kids will notice and will go searching around for where the popsicle came from. If those kids then all come back with popsicles, even more will start noticing and will then start hunting around for them too, just like the ants in the article. I saw just this occur at a school picnic a couple of months ago.

Now replace "popsicle" with "ice cream sandwhich" and "kid" with "grown up man" and you see exactly the same thing at my work on thursdays, when someone places a box of icecream sandwiches on the counter in the cafeteria. See TCP come alive as larger and larger deluge of grown men detect the presence of icecream sandwhiches and make their way to the cafeteria to get one, all without a single email notification going out.

Not to dismiss out of hand this person's research, but it does seem like it's just another case of some researcher trying to piggy-back their work onto some trendy acronym or concept in order to get their work noticed (and funded). Saying that forager ants mirror kid "popsiclenet" doesn't sound as cool or worthy of funding as saying it mirrors TCP, I guess.

Re:Common sense? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41137577)

Honestly, I think the kids-and-popsicles thing is more like TOR, because in both cases people will infer you're some kind of evil pedocreep.

Re:Common sense? (2)

tippe (1136385) | more than 2 years ago | (#41138049)

Or maybe they won't assume that each person that mentions kids is automatically a pedophile, and might instead infer that I was simply one parent amongst many at a school picnic, who just happened to notice the fascinating and efficient way in which popsicles somehow managed to get distributed to all kids, all without the need for fancy announcements or for them to be hand-delivered.

What's I find more troublesome is that at the time I had no idea that I had made some grand discovery that I could have likened to TCP and written an article about. Imagine, if I had only known, I too could have had an article on the front page of Slashdot about how something mundane is remarkable because it works just like some fancy internet protocol! Ah well, that's why I won't be quitting my day job...

Re:Common sense? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41137795)

Huh? You are describing ant foraging, not TCP. TCP has no mechanism for alerting others about about existing traffic in order for them to join in. They aren't saying that every aspect of ant behavior mimicks TCP.

Re:Common sense? (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#41137133)

> I honestly didn't see a lot of substance here.
> Instead of saying ants use TCP, I would say ants and TCP both use common sense.

Bingo, my friend. Sadly enough, that's vast majority of modern day scientific articles. Like the subject of the OA - ants - modern scientists are foraging where the bandwidth is wider - grant, fame, circle jirk, etc, etc...

Re:Common sense? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41137723)

I honestly didn't see a lot of substance here.

Instead of saying ants use TCP, I would say ants and TCP both use common sense.

When I apply for jobs, I contact friends in my network. If someone gets back to me faster, I reply back faster and send my resume to them quickly. Does that mean I am following TCP/IP?

I don't know. If you send your resume and it takes the company a month to get back to you, do you respond back right away? Or do you just assume that, since it took so long, the company must be really busy and thus, in an attempt to make sure you don't overload them, you wait another month before responding back to them?

Oh crap, they've hired a lawyer, haven't they? (2)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 2 years ago | (#41136651)

I mean, if apple can patent rectangles, this one should be a cinch to get through the courts. Welcome your new ant masters! All your sugar cubes are belong to us.

PLoS Computational Biology (3, Informative)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 2 years ago | (#41136681)

PLoS Computational Biology does not have issues, it publishes continually as an online-only journal. People will also notice when clicking on the link to the abstract that they can view the full article for free, from anywhere, no paywall restrictions of any sort.

Re:PLoS Computational Biology (2)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 2 years ago | (#41137899)

Formally, they still assign volume and issue numbers; this article appears in "volume 8, issue 8." Which seems a little strange for all-online journals, I agree, but I think they're trying to make it easy for standard-form citations.

Re:PLoS Computational Biology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41139275)

tradition and ease of citation?

Wasn't TCP modelled by ants behaviour anyway? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41136683)

I thought that TCP was largely influenced by the behavior of ants. So the only surprise with this discovery to me is that those researchers seem to be oblivious to that fact

Fascinating (1)

hkrish4 (2704651) | more than 2 years ago | (#41136685)

I always wondered what do they do and how they forage for foods. I never thought they knew TCP! Fascinating. On the one hand, when I understood TCP first time, the protocol seems more reasonable and choreography for data congestion seems intuitive. But if ants could think the same way as human, my opinion of ants' intelligence is changing.

Re:Fascinating (2)

plover (150551) | more than 2 years ago | (#41139067)

A single ant is pretty much just a stupid state machine, more like a neuron with legs. It takes a whole colony to exhibit this behavior.

Therefore we can conclude that ants discovered modular design, object oriented programming, and the state pattern millions of years ago, right?

But how many ants would it take? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41136721)

Sounds very impractical. I mean, even if you could get enough ants to carry the standard station wagon full of tapes, they're still not going to attain highway speeds.

Re:But how many ants would it take? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41139667)

You could set up the ants on an incline, then they could drop the tapes down at higher speeds approaching terminal velocity .
Your upload speeds (literally) will be lower, but that is the case anyway with my current ISP.

call Ant Man (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 2 years ago | (#41136757)

Hank Pym's super ants got out of the lab again.

Hmm - is this really like TCP (3, Interesting)

dirkx (540136) | more than 2 years ago | (#41136787)

From the article:

.. feedback loop allows TCP [to run][ congestion avoidance: If acks return at a slower rate than the data was sent out, that indicates that there is little bandwidth available, and the source throttles...

which does seem to be a far cry from TCP. While common lore (and the modern buffer bloated internet) has it that high RTT means little available bandwidth (and it sure does play havoc with the bandwidth product - giving rise to that lore fairly) - the design calls for packet drop rather than delay to indicate a link being overloaded. And while the source slows down - it does not actually throttles; it just awaits the ack - it wont slow down the next packets. It is just that the window won't grow further. So makes one think of the observations in RFC-2488.

No recommended (1)

vawwyakr (1992390) | more than 2 years ago | (#41136797)

Yeah the Anternet is awesome and all but the ping time is crap. I tried playing CS on it and with the horrible ping time everything was just unplayable and then one of them wandered into my power supply and fried my PC.

Stanford outdoes Shakespeare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41136981)

Hamlet: Do you see yonder cloud that's almost in shape of a camel?
Polonius: By th' Mass, and 'tis like a camel, indeed.
Hamlet: Methinks it is like a weasel.
Polonius: It is backed like a weasel.
Hamlet: Or like a whale.
Polonius: Very like a whale.

Deborah Gordon, Stanford ant biologist: See those foraging ants over there
Balaji Prabhakar, Computer scientist: Aye, very like a TCP/IP algorithm

At the risk of sounding stupid (2)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#41137047)

At the risk of sounding stupid without reading anything, may I predict that they discovered something trivial or tautological, or otherwise useless like "fractals", "power law", "criticality", etc. etc etc...

My broadband anternet is causing issues to me! (1)

aglider (2435074) | more than 2 years ago | (#41137161)

My kitchen is full of ants! I need a firewall and a better router.

Circular research? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41137371)

I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that the guys working on TCP studied results of behavioral analysis of colony/swarm insects (possibly indirectly through reading research papers influenced by other research papers), and that therefore this connection would be the other way around and obvious...

pratchett? (1)

paai (162289) | more than 2 years ago | (#41137375)

Does nobody read discworld any more? Where ants act as bits in a magical computer?
Paai

Bugs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41137509)

Yeah, but I heard their code is really buggy.

Omo" Omo" Omo" (1)

kgeiger (1339271) | more than 2 years ago | (#41138033)

Call Al Gore! We need an on-ramp to the ant-formation superhighway.

Hex (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41138859)

anthill inside! [wikipedia.org]

No really big news... (2)

lorinc (2470890) | more than 2 years ago | (#41139043)

You might want to check the PhD [idsia.ch] of this guy [idsia.ch] in 1998 entitled "Ant Colony Optimization and its application to adaptive routing in telecommunication networks".

There are plenty of other ant like heuristics to network routing even older than this. Ant behavior modelization dates as far as 1989 (from J-L. Deneubourg), and routing was the first practical application for the derivative algorithms.

Terry Pratchett (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41139591)

Anthill Inside.

Of course its similar (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#41139625)

2 species, on the same planet int the same general point in history come up with a similar process for a similar problem. *yawn*

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