Feeds

Bumblebee boogie analysis in webserver boost

Drone dancefloor plan is the proverbial insect limb joint

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

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. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Object storage bods Exablox: RAID is dead, baby. RAID is dead
Bring your own disks to its object appliances
VMware vaporises vCHS hybrid cloud service
AnD yEt mOre cRazy cAps to dEal wIth
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?