Feeds

Bumblebee boogie analysis in webserver boost

Drone dancefloor plan is the proverbial insect limb joint

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Researchers in Georgia, USA, reckon they can increase the efficiency of web servers by mimicking the methods used by honey bees to collect nectar.

It seems that the new hive-mind technology was the brainchild of Professor Craig Tovey of the Georgia Institute of Technology (GIT).

“I studied bees for years, waiting for the right application,” Tovey said. “You have to look for a close analogy between two systems — never a superficial one... this definitely fit the bill.”

By lucky hap, Tovey's years of avid bee-watching paid off during a discussion with Sunil Nakrani of the Oxford computer-science department. Tovey and Nakrani realised that the task of serving web pages was uncannily similar to that of sucking sugar out of flowers.

More specifically, it was the bees' internal organisation that held useful lessons for servers. Bees have no central command or leadership (the "queen" is mainly concerned with laying eggs rather than directing the nectar harvest). Rather, the cunning insect workers pass information to each other by doing complicated little dances in the hive.

Bees coming back from a rich patch of nectar let their buddies know about it, and more bees pile in to the relevant flowers until all the sticky goodness is gone. The last few bees coming back tell everyone that the patch is worked out, and resources go elsewhere.

Tovey and Nakrani set to work at GIT to develop a "dancefloor" for servers, assigning resources to sites in the same way as bees deal with flowers. In their research, published in Bioinspiration and Biomimetics, they claim that "the honeybee method typically improves service by 4 percent to 25 percent in tests based on real Internet traffic."

The main question raised by all this, of course, is what happens to biomimetics researchers who study the wrong kind of animals and never develop a useful application? Presumably there are people out there furiously boning up on weasels, fruitbats, plankton etc, hoping ever more desperately as the years go by that some kind of robotics or computing analogy will present itself, only to eventually retire and die disappointed.

Perhaps we need some kind of bee-style way of assigning biomimetics researchers more efficiently. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Cloud unicorns are extinct so DiData cloud mess was YOUR fault
Applications need to be built to handle TITSUP incidents
BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?
Don't worry about that cable, it's part of the config
Stop the IoT revolution! We need to figure out packet sizes first
Researchers test 802.15.4 and find we know nuh-think! about large scale sensor network ops
SanDisk vows: We'll have a 16TB SSD WHOPPER by 2016
Flash WORM has a serious use for archived photos and videos
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
prev story

Whitepapers

Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
Why CIOs should rethink endpoint data protection in the age of mobility
Assessing trends in data protection, specifically with respect to mobile devices, BYOD, and remote employees.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.